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Presentation by Current President of the EU Transport Council, Slovenian Minister of Transport, Radovan Žerjav: GALILEO (GNSS) - Development of a European civil Global Navigation Satellite System

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Dear President, honourable Vice-President of the European Commission, distinguished Members of the European Parliament, Ladies and Gentlemen,,

I am very glad to have today the opportunity to attend your plenary session where we will discuss Galileo Implementation Regulation.

We all are aware of the geo-strategic and economic importance of the programmes Galileo and EGNOS for the European Union. But before coming to the text that is on the table today, let me shortly recall the decisive developments that the programmes faced during the last year.

In June 2007, under the German Presidency, it was courageously decided to stop the unsuccessful concession contract negotiations. This initiative was echoed in the Resolution of the European Parliament that expressed its strong support for continuing the programmes under EU responsibility and called for financing it fully from the Union budget.

When then the Commission in September 2007 submitted a set of proposals steering the project towards a complete financing by the public sector, the Implementation Regulation was also among these proposals. Thanks to the agreement of the ECOFIN Council and European Parliament on the financing Decision last November and the integrated decision taken by the TTE Council a week later through conclusions on the future development of Galileo, we were able to move the European GNSS programmes out of the deadlock and to take them back into our public responsibility.

I am very pleased that all three institutions cooperated constructively in seeking answers on the legal basis in order to bring the Galileo project fully to life. I would particularly like to thank the reporter Barsi-Pataki as well as the Chair of the ITRE Committee Angelika Niebler. The Slovenian Presidency is proud that it invested all available efforts in reaching agreement in the first reading.

I am convinced that our negotiations resulted in a balanced text. The text in front of us today, sets out the budgetary amount needed for the programmes for 2007-2013 as well as the governance and management of GNSS programmes and the principles and structure of the public procurement. We all recognised the responsibility of the European Parliament towards the citizens as part of the Budgetary Authority.

With a view to facilitate that each institution exercises its respective responsibility concerning the programmes, we decided on a Galileo Interinstitutional Panel. The panel will follow the progress on the implementation of the programmes, international agreements related to the programmes, the preparation of the markets and the effectiveness of the governance structure and the annual review of the work programme.

Dear Mr President, dear Members of Parliament, I believe I do not need to recall the significance of the European satellite navigation programmes in terms of job creation and competitivity for Europe. They are fully in line with the Lisbon strategy and other Community policies and will allow us to develop and maintain know-how in Europe relating in particular to the applications that will bring direct use to our citizens.

I would like to thank you for your attention and particularly for your constructive cooperation on this major European project.


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Date: 22.04.2008