UK could be Shut Out of EU GPS Sys­tem it Helped Build

The Economic Times - - Around The World -

Brexit could leave the UK out of new EU-wide global po­si­tion­ing sys­tem (GPS)thatwentliveinDe­cem­ber­after more than 15 years in de­vel­op­ment, with much of the cut­ting-edge work hav­ing been car­ried out by Bri­tish com­pa­nies.

The Galileo sys­tem, de­vel­oped in part­ner­ship be­tween the Euro­pean Union and the Euro­pean Space Agen­cy­has­beenyearsinthe­mak­ing, and was built to end the de­pen­dence of Euro­pean coun­tries on GPS tech­nol­ogy pro­vided by ei­ther the US, Rus­sia or China, who could shut down ac­cess to their sys­tems should they so de­cide.

But ac­cess to Galileo will cur­rently be re­stricted to mem­bers of the EU. When the SNP MP George Kere­van asked in the House of Com­mons whet her t he Dep a r t ment for In­ter­na­tional Trade had any plans to ne­go­ti­ate ac­cess to Galileo for the UK,tradem­i­nis­terMarkGarnier­told him: “The use of spec­trum is in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant and that spec­trum is a very valu­able as­set for this coun­try and we will work with Of­com to en­sure that we get our fair share.” The head of the Euro­pean Space Agency’s EU pol­icy of­fice, Jean Brus­ton, has pre­vi­ously warned that the UK would have to rene­go­ti­ate terms to con­tinue par­tic­i­pat­ing in Galileo and other space projects. Nor­way and Switzer­land are mem­bers of the ESA but had to bro­ker their own agree­ments to join Galileo in 2009 and 2014 re­spec­tively. “As soon as [Bri­tain] is leaving the EU it is not par­tic­i­pat­ing in these pro­grammes any longer,” Brus­ton said.

UK com­pa­nies hold con­tracts worth tens of mil­lions to pro­vide hard­ware to the project. “If noth­ing changes [and Brexit goes ahead], we would have to stop these con­tracts,” Brus­ton warned.

Bri­tain could be lost with­out Galilep

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