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European Union/space policy/Ariane 6

Published on December 4, 2014
Communiqué issued following the Council of Ministers’ meeting
Paris, December 3, 2014

The Minister of National Education, Higher Education and Research and the Minister of State for Higher Education and Research made a statement on space policy.

France is a major space player today at European and international level, with a powerful, competitive, diversified industrial base which is very widely represented in the world trade market, and has an internationally recognized scientific and technological space community. This community is playing a key role in making historic advances in human knowledge, such as the Rosetta project, which today allows analysis of material at the origin of the solar system and the molecular ingredients behind the emergence of life.

This strength is the result of continued political will for more than 50 years, nationally and in the European framework of the European Space Agency (ESA), within which France is represented by the Centre national d’études spatiales (CNES) [French Space Agency].

In an international situation marked by economic, financial and political difficulties, more numerous conflicts and new threats, space is more than ever an opportunity for Europe, as an issue of sovereignty and a generator of considerable scientific progress, innovation, competitiveness and jobs.

The ESA Ministerial Council, which met yesterday, took a major decision for the future of Space Europe: to develop a new launcher, Ariane 6, which will replace Ariane 5 from 2020. This decision is the result of an unprecedented mobilization of ministers, the ESA, the national agencies and European manufacturers. It strengthens Europe by guaranteeing independent space access to institutional stakeholders and a competitively-priced offer to European economic players. Relations between the ESA and manufacturers are redefined, with a new sharing of risks and investments between public and private partners and a more integrated and efficient industrial structure. Through this decision, which was a French initiative and was enabled thanks to an agreement with Germany, Europe has shown its determination to maintain its full place on the space access market./.

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