The general impression today is that the two European space flagships initiatives, Galileo and the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) programmes, are progressing quite slowly, if not even stalled for the first one, since they were started nearly ten years ago; they are still far from entering an operational mode for delivering the projected services. Indeed, the idea of having a European positioning, navigation and timing system based on a constellation of satellites comparable to GPS (Global Positioning System) was floated in the nineties and pushed by the transport commissioner Neil Kinnock (1995–1999) in 1998 mainly for security and sovereignty needs in Europe. The GMES concept was aired through the Baveno declaration in May 1998, calling for Europe to have its own system for monitoring environment and security worldwide on a 24/7/365 basis. Both initiatives would give Europe the appropriate strategic tools to participate fully in the information revolution that would ensure Europe’s grip on geopolitical issues; economic competitiveness and sustainable development.
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- What’s the problem with Europe’s flagships Galileo and GMES?
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