The EC has published its proposed budgets for the next Multi-Annual Financial Framework Perspective 2021 to 2028 which includes an allocation for “space” of €16b. This will provide continuity for the 2 EC flagships; Galileo and Copernicus.
The main interest from the EO services sector is towards the Copernicus programme and it is great to see that this is assured. Copernicus has become the world’s leading satellite Earth Observation programme and is playing a strong role to help develop the EO services sector in Europe. The EC is currently consulting on the shape of the Copernicus programme in the next MFF and EARSC will provide a formal response to this question following a consultation with the industry in late June.
Continuity of data supply and the confidence that this will be maintained in the future is fundamental for businesses to develop. Whilst the return upstream is strategic the economic value is generated downstream where the return on investment is high. EARSC welcomes the strong commitment being shown by the EC and calls upon the European Parliament and EU Council to endorse this budget proposal ensuring that a sufficient part is earmarked and dedicated to the development of Copernicus.
Owning and operating space assets is a necessary pre-requisite but has little value to the public if the data is not exploited. With the overall goal to serve public-sector and government needs this should be assured through the services which Copernicus can deliver. Since the 2014 Copernicus Regulation, a cornerstone of the programme has been to leverage the investment to help develop the downstream sector. Hence, we also call upon the decision makers to ensure an adequate portion of around 25% of the programme budget is dedicated to the services, to user uptake and to the development and exploitation of the data being generated.