Amsterdam, 26 November 2008
The European Space Agency´s (ESA) ¤10 billion budget, agreed by EU Ministers at a meeting in The Hague today, gives Europe´s misguided militarisation of space a further boost.
For the first time, the ESA has formalised the involvement of the European Defence Agency in the making of space policy, which marks a further worrying shift towards a military role for the formerly purely civilian space programme.
“With the planned inclusion of the European Defence Agency (EDA) as a partner on space policy issues, the ESA Ministerial Council has broken a new barrier in the process of making space a European defence priority,” says Frank Slijper, author of From Mars to Venus: the European Union´s steps towards the militarisation of space, a new report from the Transnational Institute and Campagne tegen Wapenhandel (Dutch Campaign Against Arms Trade).
The Space Council meeting in The Hague also highlighted what it calls “the essential need to develop increased synergies with the security and defence sector.”
“This is another worrying aspect of strong and growing links between industry and policy makers in Brussels on European security and defence policy making,” says Slijper. “It makes a mockery of democratic decision making, and could undermine popular trust in the European project.”
From Mars to Venus is available free for download from www.stopwapenhandel.org. The report highlights how projects that are initially presented as civilian or civil security initiatives often have ´dual´ or multiple use that includes a strong military component. It also profiles how the Aerospace and Defence Industries business lobby sets the agenda for European space policy, from which it stands to draw massive financial benefits.