The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency (GSA) have signed an agreement to co-operate and support investment in the European space-based service economy.
The signature took place in Prague during the celebration to mark the 15th anniversary of GSA.
To explore new investment support for the European space-based economy, the EIB and GSA are bringing together their expertise and experience. The common objective is to create high-skill jobs in the EU and improve the day-to-day lives of Europeans by supporting innovative companies and accelerating the development of new applications that use European global navigation satellite systems and Earth observation data.
These applications could be used to ensure smooth navigation e.g. in search and rescue operations to save lives, for observing crops, and in precision farming to reduce the need for fertilisers and pesticides.
EIB vice president Ambroise Fayolle welcomed the partnership, saying, "Space is the final frontier, and there is a new worldwide ambition in reaching it. The EU’s global competitors and new private actors are investing heavily in the space sector. At the same time, new disruptive technologies and business models are emerging and changing the playing field.
"We need to make sure that Europe stays in the game. That is why we are particularly enthusiastic about this agreement with GSA. It is an important step to develop further support for European space entrepreneurs and businesses to eventually give them and the EU a competitive edge in this new space race."
The global space economy has been evolving rapidly in recent years. On average it has grown by 6.7 per cent per year over the last 10 years, which is almost twice the 3.5 per cent average yearly growth of the global economy. This growth has been partially driven by the US, China and other countries that have developed new ambitious space missions.
The main driver, however, has been the 'New Space' phenomenon: a number of technological and business model innovations that have introduced new products and services and reduced the cost of accessing and using space.
Carlo des Dorides, GSA executive director, expanded on the new partnership, saying, "Our expertise in market intelligence for satellite navigation and in supporting new business opportunities – thanks to EGNOS and Galileo – is the basis of our agreement with the EIB. We are confident that our co-operation will bring the extra added value required by entrepreneurs to transform their application businesses into globally successful companies."
The EIB is the European Union's bank, the only bank owned by and representing the interests of the European Union member states. It works closely with other EU institutions to implement EU policy and is the world’s largest multilateral borrower and lender.
The EIB provides finance and expertise for sustainable investment projects that contribute to EU policy objectives. More than 90 per cent of its activity is in Europe. Since 2009, the bank has lent over €1 billion to space-related projects.
As an official European Union regulatory agency, the GSA is in charge of managing the operations and service provision of Galileo and EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service), ensuring that European citizens get the most out of Europe’s satellite navigation programs in terms of innovation, competitiveness, economic growth and benefit to users.
GSA is Europe’s link between space technology and user needs. It works together with institutions, industry, service providers, SMEs, entrepreneurs and research institutions to respond to users’ needs and provide a satellite navigation service able to ignite a broad range of applications using location-based services and serve the user communities.
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