Select Committee on European Scrutiny Ninth Report


COM(00) 750

COM(01) 336

Draft Council Resolution: GALILEO — Involving Europe in a new generation of satellite navigation services.

Draft Commission Regulation on the establishment of a Galileo joint undertaking.

Legal base: (b) Article 171 EC; consultation; qualified majority voting
Department: Transport, Local Government and the Regions
Basis of consideration: Minister's letter of 3 December 2001
Previous Committee Report: (a) and (b) HC 152-vii (2001-02), paragraph 6 (21 November 2001); (a) HC 28-i (2000-01), paragraph 17 (13 December 2000) and HC 28-vii (2000-01), paragraph 8 (28 February 2001)
Discussed in Council: (b) 6 December 2001
Committee's assessment: Politically important
Committee's decision: (Both) Cleared, but further information requested


  14.1  Galileo is a joint initiative between the EU and the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop a European civilian satellite navigation system.

  14.2  The previous Committee considered a series of documents relating to Galileo. A Commission Communication, Galileo — Involving Europe in a New Generation of Satellite Navigation Services,[38] was debated in European Standing Committee A on 9 June 1999.

  14.3  The Draft Regulation (document b) builds on the earlier Communication and the Resolution and aims to set up a joint undertaking with responsibility for implementing the development phase[39] and preparing for the subsequent phases of the project. We considered both the Draft Resolution and the Draft Regulation on 21 November 2001, but decided to leave both uncleared, pending further information from the Minister.

The Minister's letter

  14.4  We asked the Minister to confirm that no political agreement on the joint undertaking was reached at the 16 October Transport Council, and also asked him for information on proposals the Government will be putting to the Council to resolve its concerns and whether the Government is likely to be able to assemble a blocking minority.

  14.5  In response, the Minister confirms that no political agreement was reached at the October Transport Council "as many of the UK concerns were shared by other Member States."

  14.6  As regards proposals the Government will be putting forward, the Minister says:

"At the Council on 7 December we will be seeking further work as highlighted in the report [into the viability of the Galileo project by Pricewaterhousecoopers — PWC] and will also seek a deferment of a decision until the March Council. There is some support for this stance from other Member States and a blocking minority is possible. However it is uncertain at present how firm that support will be on 7 December and there is a strong possibility that it will be insufficient.

"The UK has sought and obtained a discussion of the PWC report at ECOFIN on 4 December. If the Chancellor succeeds in raising concerns about Galileo and its likely impact on the future of the EU budget then there is more likelihood of a decision being deferred by the Transport Council.

"In the event that the decision is not deferred, the UK will seek to establish a number of conditions on the management of the project with the aim of separating the private sector from the joint undertaking and increasing the influence of Member States over the progressive release of EU funds. We will work towards this end with the like­minded members of the Transport Council.

"This however is a fall­back, and our primary objective will be deferment, provided there is sufficient support from other Member States."


  14.7  We thank the Minister for his reply. On the basis of the further information, we clear both documents, but request that the Minister provide a detailed account of the 7 December Council deliberations relating to Galileo as soon as possible and preferably before the Christmas recess.

38  (19950) 6528/99; see HC 34-xvii (1998-99), paragraph 1 (28 April 1999). Back

39  The establishment of Galileo is set out in stages: phase 1 is the development and validation stage (2001-2005); this is followed by the deployment phase (2006-2007) and an operational stage from 2008 onwards. Back

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