NEREUS-Vice-president Alberto Cavalli participated on behalf of the network in the “Multiannual Financial Framework Perspective and Space” Conference that was organized by the Sky and Space Intergroup on 14th June 2011 in the European Parliament. In response to the NEREUS-position paper on the next Multi Annual Financial Framework Perspective (MFF) Member of European Parliament (MEP) Vittorio Prodi, chair of the Sky and Space Intergroup had invited NEREUS to join this debate. Representatives from different European institutions and agencies as well as industry representatives and relevant associations gathered to discuss the role of EU-space policy and programs with respect to the next financial framework period.
From the discussion emerged the common view that the planned space infrastructures, especially the two flagship projects Galileo and GMES are promptly needed as a tool for the implementation of EU-policies and can only be achieved at EU-level. Many speakers stressed the strategic importance of space applications, which do not only create uncountable economic spillovers but also represent key drivers for further innovations. Thus they called for an ambitious space budget and to have flexibility to support long-term investment.
Michel Praet, Member of Cabinet van Rompuy whilst quoting President Barroso said that the budgetary means necessary for these priorities can be estimated around 2.1b€/year from 2014 till 2020. Mr. Reimer Böge – MEP and Rapporteur on the MFF – highlighted three main policy objectives: 1) the need for a long term planning; 2) to reaffirm a clear commitment of the European Commission; and 3) to give space policies more funds in the next MFF. MEP Jutta Haug (S&D, DE), chair of SURE Committee mentioned that the SURE report on next MFF claims for additional financing for space. MEP Gianni Pittella (S&D, IT), Vice-President of the EP stressed growth instead of cutting down. Europe needs to invest in space to stimulate growth and job creation. In a written message to the audience, Ms. Mercedes Bresso – President of the Committee of the Regions (CoR) – underlined that investing in space applications responds to needs of the citizen.
Vice President – Mr. Alberto Cavalli – introduced the Network’s recent activities and underlined that regions and space are closely connected. He asked the European Commission to reaffirm its commitments towards the timely realisation of the two flagship programmes and called for an ambitious space policy. He underlined the need to invest in the development of new space applications in order to capitalized existing investments on Galileo and GMES. “This is a matter of credibility and competitiveness”.
Mr. Antonio Tajani – EU Commission Vice President – joined the debate later to reassert that Galileo is a top priority for the EU, notwithstanding present financial constraints. He announced that in October 2011 two new satellites will be launched, while other two are planned for the next year. Finally, he said that after harsh negotiations with private stakeholders, an agreement was reached for reducing the costs of Galileo from 1.9 to 1.1 billion €. General Director of ESA Jean-Jacques Dordain said “When we are talking about investing in space, it means investing in services, in knowledge and in competitiveness. The users will be an integral part of the success.”
 “we must guarantee the success of the EU flagship projects EGNOS/Galileo and GMES. We must develop a strong, space-based capacity to deal with climate change and we also need more security in and from space”