UK leav­ing Galileo satel­lite project a ‘blow to EU se­cu­rity’

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By James Cook

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.

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