UK leaving Galileo satellite project a ‘blow to EU security’
THE chief executive of Airbus has warned that the UK’s departure from the €10bn (£9bn) European Galileo satellite project is a “serious blow to the EU’s common security and defence ambition”.
Tom Enders wrote on Twitter yesterday: “Don’t those talking about a ‘European army’ know that the UK is one of only two serious military powers in Europe?”
Galileo is Europe’s global navigation satellite system designed to be a rival to the US GPS system. It will not only support mobile phones and satnavs but also provide vital location information for the military and businesses.
The project began in 1999, with the EU aiming to create a network of 30 satellites orbiting the Earth that would ensure its members were not reliant on the US, Russian and Chinese systems.
But the UK has decided to quit the programme over concerns that it would not be able to influence its development following Brexit.
Among the most crucial parts of the system is the Public Regulated Service (PRS), an encrypted navigation service used by government agencies, the armed forces and emergency services. Much of the PRS was developed by UK scientists and engineers.
However, the EU has insisted that the PRS can only be accessed by EU members. British contractors were told they would be locked out of work on the highly sensitive project after the UK leaves the bloc in March.
The departure comes after the UK invested £1.2bn into Galileo. Last week, Airbus UK revealed it had relocated 80 jobs to sites on the Continent so that it could finish its work on the project.