ESA welcomed Canada’s Prime Minister, Jean Chrétien, at a special ceremony held today at its Paris headquarters to celebrate the continuing partnership between Europe and Canada in space applications and technology. The Prime Minister met the Director General of ESA, Antonio Rodotà, and the heads of delegations representing ESA’s 14 member states.


The Prime Minister’s visit culminated in the renewal of Canada’s association with ESA through the signing of a 10-year cooperation agreement by Antonio Rodotà and William Mac Evans, President of the Canadian Space Agency.


The agreement signed today acknowledges the long history of cooperation between Europe and Canada and the socio-economic benefits that come from joint promotion of the peaceful development of space activities and technology.


"With this new agreement, we are building on a proud tradition of partnership in space-based research and development", said Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, “It is a model of international cooperation, one that will continue to drive innovation, the sharing of knowledge and expertise, and the creation of partnerships between countries, agencies and space-based industries to meet the needs of future generations all over the world".


"Cooperation with Canada", said Mr. Rodotà, "is serving as a bridge across the Atlantic, allowing us to draw on our collective strengths, knowledge and expertise to pilot leading-edge research, technology and space-based initiatives that make a positive impact on the lives of all our citizens".


Canadian companies are also expanding their links with European firms in Earth observation and satellite navigation and in building the next generation of satellites offering access to faster and cheaper high-speed communications, multimedia and internet services. Over the past 20 years, through successive cooperation agreements, ESA has awarded contracts worth in excess of EUR 200m to space companies throughout Canada. This has spurred the creation of jobs, the acquisition of knowledge and expertise and led to the development of industrial alliances with European contractors.


About the cooperation agreement

The agreement signed today is the fourth since 1 January 1979 and renews, for a term of 10 years, cooperation between ESA and Canada. As a cooperating state, Canada participates in ESA deliberative bodies and decision-making and takes part in ESA’s programmes and activities. Canadian firms can bid for and receive contracts to work on programmes of interest to them. The agreement contains a specific provision ensuring a fair industrial return to Canada .


In addition to Canada’s participation in ESA’s programmes, and as a new feature of this cooperation, the new agreement makes provision for ESA to take part in Canadian programmes.


About the Canadian Space Agency

Established in 1989, with its headquarters in Saint Hubert, Quebec, the Canadian Space Agency ensures that Canadians in all regions learn and benefit from the development and application of space knowledge, science and technology. It supports and promotes a highly competitive space industry, contributes to the sustainable development of Canada and the world, and fosters initiatives to increase awareness of the Canadian space programme throughout the world.


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