EU to announce initiatives to boost space innovation and entrepreneurship at the European Space Conference

Today and tomorrow, the 16th edition of the European Space Conference hosted by the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union is taking place in Brussels. Commissioner Thierry Breton held an opening speech. Later today, Executive Vice-President Šefčovič and Commissioner Sinkevičius will deliver a keynote opening address and a closing speech. Tomorrow, High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell will hold a keynote speech at 14:15 CET, which will be available on EbS. In this conference, the Commission is announcing several key steps in 2024 to maintain Europe at the forefront of space innovation.

To ensure an autonomous access to space and as part of the Flight Ticket Initiative, the Commission and the European Space Agency (ESA) are setting up a pool of five launch service providers, including four new commercial entrants. This will enhance the long-term competition in the launcher market. The selected providers will be able to compete for specific work orders up to a ceiling of €5 million for identified launch service needs.

The Commission also strengthens its support for New Space and space entrepreneurship in Europe. Tomorrow, together with the European Investment Bank and ESA, the Commission will sign a new collaboration arrangement to unlock access to debt financing and advisory support for European space companies. This aims to enhance access to finance, promote innovation, facilitate knowledge sharing, and foster the development of advanced space technologies.

Space is now recognised as a strategic domain with a clear geopolitical significance. In his speech, HR/VP Borrell will highlight the profound paradigm shift on how we see Space when it comes to security and defence. The EU Space Strategy for Security and Defence presented in March 2023, reflects this fundamental change of paradigm.

This year’s conference focuses on ‘Fuelling the European Space Ambition, Empowering a Vision’. The conference will take stock of the current space landscape in Europe and provide a backdrop for discussions on the future of European space ambitions and initiatives. The full programme is available online. More information about EU space policy is available here.