Green light given to Galileo, the EU alternative to America’s GPS

Plans to start up the EU’s first global satellite navigation system (GNSS) built under civilian control, entirely independent of other navigation systems and yet interoperable with them, were approved by MEPs on Wednesday.

Both parts of this global system – Galileo and EGNOS – will offer citizens a European alternative to America’s GPS or Russia’s Glonass signals for many applications in their daily lives.

“Today global navigation satellite system (GNSS) technology accounts for 7% of EU GDP, but its potential is far greater. Galileo and the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) will give Europe the means to build on that potential, while also ending EU’s reliance on foreign military GNSS technology”, said Parliament’s rapporteur Marian Jean Marinescu (EPP, RO).

Parliament played a crucial role in ensuring that the navigation system could be used in citizens’ daily lives. Both systems will enable the creation of new satellite navigation applications that can improve safety, efficiency and reliability in the aviation, maritime, road and agriculture sectors and represent a vast potential for industry and new jobs in Europe.

The Galileo system could be used in areas such as road safety, fee collection, traffic and parking management, fleet management, emergency call, goods tracking and tracing, online booking, safety of shipping, digital tachographs, animal transport, agricultural planning and environmental protection to drive growth and make citizens’ lives easier.

MEPs insisted that it must be possible to invest some of the programme’s 6.3 billion EUR budget for 2014-2020 (at 2011 prices) in developing applications. They also broke down the budget into various project segments, to make it easier to limit costs and manage the funding.

The Council is expected to endorse the draft regulation shortly, as an informal deal between MEPs and member states has already been struck, in April 2013.

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