Monday, March 17, 2014

European Parliament adopts Copernicus: Earth Observation programme

The European Parliament on Wednesday gave its green light to Copernicus, the EU's new earth observation programme, according to a statement on its official website.

Copernicus, previously known as GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security), is the European Programme for the establishment of a European capacity for Earth Observation.

The Copernicus Regulation will ensure the regular observation and monitoring of earth sub-systems, the atmosphere, oceans, and continental surfaces, and will provide reliable information in support of a broad range of environmental and security applications and decisions.

This programme, which still needs to be adopted by the European Council, defines Copernicus objectives, governance and funding of some 4.3 billion euros (5.97 billion U.S. dollars) for the period 2014-2020.

The European Commission welcomed the vote of the European Parliament on the Copernicus, said a statement publicised by the EU executive.

European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani, responsible for industry and entrepreneurship said that "space is a priority for the European Union.

The budget for both European flagship space programmes, Copernicus and Galileo, for the next seven years is secured. Almost 12 billion euros will be invested in space technologies. "

The Copernicus programme is entering the operational phase after years of preparation. The next step is the launch of the first Copernicus satellite, Sentinel-1, beginning of April from Europe's Spaceport in French Guyana.

The data provided by this satellite will enable considerable progress in improving maritime security, climate change monitoring and providing support in emergency and crisis situations.

Under the administration of ESA and its management policies, Copernicus will also help Europe's enterprises creating new jobs and business opportunities.

Studies show that Copernicus could generate a financial benefit of some 30 billion euros and create around 50,000 jobs in Europe by 2030.

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