European Union members have reached agreement on the long delayed Galileo satellite project, according to a Bloomberg report which cites a statement issued by German transport minister Wolfgang Tiefensee. The agreement, according to the minister's statement, crosses the ``final hurdle'' for the EU, which can now start placing orders for the project by the end of the year.
The project still needs to be cleared by the European Parliament ''in the next few weeks,'' according to the statement.
Once cleared by the parliament, the European Space Agency will then start offering contracts to companies by the end of the year. As a system, Galileo is expected to begin operating by 2013.
The accord on Galileo, which is meant to compete with the US Global Positioning System, represents a ``huge chance'' for the German aerospace industry, Tiefensee said in his statement, which was issued after meeting with his EU counterparts in Luxembourg.
The $7 billion Galaileo project went under EU control after it was abandoned by a private-sector consortium as being unviable.