Ms Loyola de Palacio, EC Vice-President and Commissioner responsible for Relations with the European Parliament, Transport
and Energy, and Mr Philippe Busquin, Commissioner responsible for Research, today visited ESTEC, the European Space
Agency’s Research and Technology Centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.

Their discussions with ESA’s Director General Antonio Rodotà and senior management touched on matters of common interest
such as a European space strategy and the Galileo satellite navigation programme, and on monitoring hazardous cargo
movements at sea.

The Commission and ESA have already started elaborating a joint European space strategy following Ministerial Resolutions
adopted by their respective Councils last year calling for them to complete this by end-2000. Close consultation with all
interested parties in Europe will take place over the coming months to provide input. Mr Busquin emphasised the importance of
coordination and concertation in European research, as stated in his latest communication “Towards a European Research

Galileo is a joint EU/ESA initiative to develop a European global satellite navigation system. The programme is currently in the
detailed definition phase. Once completed, Galileo will provide autonomous European traffic management and telematics
infrastructure, generating valuable economic benefits for European equipment manufacturers and service industry and creating
jobs. Under current plans, the system will comprise at least 21 satellites (in medium earth orbit at 24 000 km, possibly
supplemented by geostationary satellites at 36 000 km) and the associated ground infrastructure. Ms de Palacio highlighted the
importance of this programme, which is an essential contribution to developing an integrated European transport policy, to be
confirmed by the EU Council by end-2000.

The Commissioners also showed interest in a new initiative proposed by Mr Rodotà involving harnessing space technology to
monitor hazardous cargo movements at sea and research on oil spill detection to improve management of the environment.
Positioning equipment is to be installed on cargo for operational tracking of oil tankers and other vessels carrying hazardous
materials. This will be included as a testbed activity under Galileo. This initiative will also serve to draw up and enforce European
legislation in this area and increase transport safety. It will also assist decision-making on ship routing/planning and help
prepare/update coastal zone sensitivity maps.

For further information, please contact :

Géraldine Naja
ESA, Directorate for Strategy and Technical Assessment
Tel: + 33.1.5369.7532
Fax: + 33.1.5369.7690
Michel Praet
ESA Brussels Office
Tel: +32.2. 743.3072
Fax: +32.2. 743.3071