Luxembourg: Members of the transport, telecommunication and energy council of the European Union have accepted a European Commission proposal to assume control of Galileo, the European satellite-based navigation programme.
The Galileo satellite navigation system is the European civil alternative to the US Global Positioning System (GPS) and the Russian GLONASS, both funded and controlled by military authorities.
At a meeting of the council in Luxembourg, held on June 6-8, council members concluded that the €3.5 billion programme should be funded with taxpayer money because "negotiations have failed and should be ended" with the private consortium of eight private aerospace and telecom companies.
The consortium consists of AENA, Alcatel, EADS, Finmeccanica, Hispasat, Inmarsat, TeleOp and Thales, and was originally supposed to fund the operating and maintenance costs of the prestigious project.
The European Commission recommendation to assume control of the project comes after the private consortium missed a May 10 deadline to submit plans to appoint a CEO and operate the system as a single company.
The European Commission now has until September this year to provide to the council "detailed alternative proposals for the financing" of Galileo, "including all possible options of public funding."