The European Commission has presented a Communication on aerospace, identifying the steps needed to improve the political and regulatory framework affecting the competitiveness of this key industry. The Communication is the Commission’s response to the analyses and prescriptions of the ‘STAR 21’ Report, presented by the European Advisory Group on Aerospace in 2002.

The Communication, entitled “A coherent framework for aerospace – a response to the STAR 21 Report”, underlines the Commission’s continuing commitment to aerospace, highlighting the industry’s contribution to Europe’s economy and security.

Speaking in Brussels, Enterprise Commissioner Erkki Liikanen said, “With this Communication the Commission is showing its commitment to ensuring the competitiveness of European industry and towards a key industrial sector. This will help to keep aerospace issues high on the European agenda. The Communication will be the opportunity for taking forward the recommendations in STAR 21 in co-operation with the other European Institutions, Member States and aerospace stakeholders.”

Moving in the right direction

The new Communication cites the progress that has been made in several important areas since the STAR 21 Report was published, including the setting up of the European Aviation Safety Agency, the relaunching of the defence debate, the broad public consultation on European Space Policy and the progress made towards implementation of the GALILEO programme. Nevertheless, the Commission considers that further efforts are still needed in order to ensure the industry’s sustained competitiveness.

Stressing the need for coherence in actions affecting aerospace, the Communication calls for priority to be given to the creation of a European defence equipment market, the launching of a successful preparatory action on security research and the development of an effective European Space Policy. Noting the key role of aerospace R&D, the Commission proposes the development of a European defence aerospace R&D plan and calls for long-term stability to be maintained in civil aeronautics research programmes.

Later this year the Commission plans to issue a policy communication (White Paper) setting out its position on a European Space Policy.

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