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Presentation by Minister Radovan Žerjav of the programme of the Slovenian Presidency in relation to the Galileo Regulation

Dear Chairwoman Ms Niebler,

Honourable Members of the ITRE Committee,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I do not intend to take too much of the time of my dear colleagues, Minister Vizjak and Minister Kucler Dolinar, as they are both presenting an ambitious programme today. But I wanted to take the opportunity in my role as Minister of Transport to address the European GALILEO and EGNOS satellite navigation programmes, concerning which Parliament and the Council must lay down the legal basis for the further successful deployment of GALILEO as a public sector project.

Thanks to the efforts undertaken by the German and the Portuguese presidencies as well as by the European Commission last year, we were able to work together with you to move the European GNSS Programme out of its deadlock. Now, we are taking the courageous step of taking GALILEO back into our public responsibility, thereby avoiding the failure of a project of such high strategic and economic importance for the European Union.

Both the agreement of the ECOFIN Council and European Parliament last November and the integrated decision taken by the TTE Council a week later on the Conclusions on the future development of GALILEO laid the groundwork for the swift decision of our institutions on the last cornerstone of the new GALILEO architecture, the Galileo implementation Regulation.

Besides the budgetary implications, three central areas have to be legally regulated: the political decision making and oversight of the GNSS programmes, their management and the principles of public procurement. The EU institutions, supported by experts and technicians, are taking on the management of a EUR 3.4 bn project. This is an enormous responsibility for industry and most of all for European citizens, especially as we have to combine a democratic decision-making process with management efficiency.

We are aware of the EP position on this point. It is clear that your responsibility towards citizens as part of the Budgetary Authority, in particular relating to such a large-scale programme in financial terms, must be reflected in the management structure of the programmes. But while we must cater for democratic needs, we will also have to ensure that the  decision-making processes are effective and that they do not cause additional obstacles in the implementation of the programme, which could lead to an increase of costs and loss of competitiveness.

Your Committee has planned to vote on 29 January on the Galileo Regulation. Our intention is to reach a first-reading agreement with the Parliament which would allow us to adopt the Regulation in the TTE Council on 7/8 April. I am very thankful to the rapporteur, Ms Barsi-Patacky, for her cooperation, which was very helpful in paving the way for successful negotiations. The Slovenian Presidency is ready to do its utmost to bring these negotiations to a successful end as soon as possible.

I would like to thank you for your attention, and I am very much looking forward to the constructive cooperation between our institutions.


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Date: 24.01.2008