EU parliament approves military use of Galileo
In a majority decision on Thursday, the European parliament adopted a resolution on the importance of space for European security. The draft of the resolution submitted by Karl von Wogau, a member of the German CDU party and chairman of the European Parliament's subcommittee on security and defence, stipulated that Europe's future satellite navigation system, Galileo, should also be available for operations related to European security and defense policy (ESDP). 502 MEPs voted for the resolution, 83 against. The European Green Party proposed amendments so that Galileo could only be used for civilian purposes, but the amendments were not adopted.
Item 11 of the resolution states that Galileo is needed for ESDP operations. As a security expert, von Wogau explained that space systems for navigation, observation, and telecommunications are generally indispensable for an effective European security policy to protect us against threats. As Wogau put it, modern society is critically dependent upon the proper functioning of these systems. He therefore argued that Europe should invest more in the systems to provide the technical foundation for reliable space surveillance.
By adopting the resolution, the European Parliament has expressed its support for the establishment of a European space surveillance system for "space situational awareness – including, for example, GRAVES and TIRA – to monitor the space infrastructure, space debris and, possibly, other threats". With this vote, the MEPs also support the expansion of capacity for early-warning systems for ballistic missile launches, which is to be funded from the European budget. Resolution item 41 states that European space policy is not to promote the military use and armament of space.
After the vote today, von Wogau explained that the majority opinion in the European Parliament had changed its mind about the military use of Galileo He pointed out that the Parliament had previously rejected such use in earlier votes. As he sees it, the current position of the European parliament is therefore so important because "Galileo is funded from the EU budget." Supporters of the European satellite navigation system originally said that Galileo would only be used for civilian purposes. By the end of 2004, the idea that the military could be kept out of Galileo had proved to be naïve.