EC Calls For Public Control, Funding Of Galileo Development
Describing the Galileo satellite navigation project as being at a “crossroads,” the European Commission (EC) called May 16 for the program’s development efforts to be fully funded by European governments.
Development of the satellite navigation system had been placed under the control of a consortium of eight companies also responsible for most of Galileo’s development costs. But the companies missed a May 10 deadline to set up a joint legal entity to run the system.
“The lack of progress in the negotiations on the concession contract, which provided for the deployment and management of the infrastructure by the private sector, is posing a serious threat to the completion of the project,” the European Union said in a statement.
Government officials are calling for public control and funding of the program.
"The commission’s conclusion is that the present roadmap, which provides for the involvement of the private sector at an early stage, will not enable the project to be completed within the desired timeframe and that this is likely to lead to considerable extra costs for the private sector,” the statement said. “The Commission shows that the most beneficial, the most realistic and, in the long term, the most economic option will be for all the initial infrastructure to be put in place while being piloted and financed by the public sector.”
Galileo is slated to be operational by 2012, with operations turned over to a private company.