Galileo deal reached

While people in the US were doing their Black Friday shopping for Christmas, EU budget ministers did a little shopping of their own, reaching a deal to pay for the Galileo satellite navigation system through the use of surplus agricultural subsidies. Germany, which had been opposed to the proposal when it was announced this fall, was the only EU member to vote against it, although it did win concessions on how the contracts would be awarded: the Galileo work will be split into six contracts, with no one company allowed to be the prime contractor for more than two. “The approach,” noted Deutsche Welle, “was meant to quell German fears that French companies would win control of the essential elements of the projects.”

While the funding deal is now all but certain to be approved, not everyone is happy. Spanish officials are concerned Italy and Germany are blocking Spanish companies from taking a “leading role” in Galileo. And there remains skepticism about Galileo in the UK: in The Times, commentator Bronwen Maddox argues that the EU “is paying too much (of taxpayers’ money) for an overcomplicated system that doesn’t yet work, in which private companies have refused to take part, and which may be overtaken by its rivals before it starts.” Her recommendation: “The best option for Galileo would have been to get a simple version running and gradually to make it more sophisticated if demand warranted.”

1 comment to Galileo deal reached

  • Ozymandias

    As a french, I can only regret that the Times remains obsessed by the commercial aspects of the program.This never really mattered, it was only a way to get the Brits on the boat.I personnaly couldn’t care less if Galileo turns out to be a commercial failure.We will have gained an independant access to an accurate positioning system.It’s what we wanted since the beginning.

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