European Commission optimistic budget hike will be approved

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Article was corrected Nov. 19 at 10:05 Eastern time. The 16.2 billion euro proposal is for the entire seven-year cycle.

BREMEN, Germany – The European Commission is optimistic its space budget will rise significantly in the next seven-year cycle.

The European Commission is recommending a space budget of 16.2 billion euros ($17.9 billion) for 2021 through 2027, a nearly 50 percent increase over the 11 billion euros budgeted for 2014 through 2020.

“This may not be the end of the story,” Matthias Petschke, European Commission director for the European Union space program, said Nov. 19 at the Space Tech Expo Europe here. “There are ongoing discussions at the European parliament.”

In those discussion, European Commission leaders “will argue this is the bare minimum [funding] needed,” adding “member states may have a more critical view,” Petschke said. “We need money to ensure continuity and the appropriate level of technological evolution.”

In the end, the European Commission and member states may reach a compromise. In the past, the Commission has been largely successful in obtaining the funding it sought for space programs, he added.

The European Union also plans to establish a new post: a Directorate-General for Defense and Space. If the plan is approved by member states, the EU space program will no longer report to the European Director General for Growth. Instead, it “will be part of a much more visible, indepependent, agile” organization, Petschke said.