Friday, 21 December 2007

Agreement on Galileo system

After months of wrangling, the EU has reached a compromise on its planned satellite navigation system, Galileo. Two-thirds of the missing 2.4 billion euros will be taken from the agricultural budget, the remainder coming from the research budget and the competitivity budget. Germany had been opposed to financing it out of EU funds, which it wants to cap, and it feared that up to 500 million euros would have to come out of its national budget. A compromise was reached when Germany agreed to rules on tendering which are designed to ensure that German companies get a slice of the cake. The claim is that the money from the agricultural budget would have been unspent anyway, so no one is losing out. Money is also available from the CAP budget because food prices have risen and this means that less has to be paid out in subsidies.

The purpose of Galileo is to give Europe a navigation system which is independent of the American GPS system. The system will be composed of 30 satellites, and the system is supposed to go live in 2013, when it will have an accuracy of a few centimetres. The total cost to the taxpayer will be at least 3.4 billion euros. The EU states have also agreed on a 4.2 per cent rise in the EU budget to 120,346 billion for 2008. 285 million euros will be spent on the Common EU Foreign and Security Policy, 85 million more than originally suggested. One of the reasons for the rise is the police mission in Kosovo, which is to cost at least 160 million euros. [Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 25 November 2007]

---- An excerpt from John Laughland's Intelligence Digest. For a free e-mail subscription to the Intelligence Digest, please click here ----

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