The European Union Space Strategy for Security and Defense –

The EU has underlined in its strategic compass the need to develop an EU space strategy for security and defence. Given the current geopolitical context, EU defense policy needs to be strengthened.

Space goods and services are increasingly important for the functioning of the EU economy, society and defence.

In a competitive and contested space environment, the EU must be prepared for a variety of threats intentionally carried out by its strategic competitors, including attacks on critical infrastructure and economies that depend on space-dependent services.

Attacks on space capabilities, such as cyberattacks, jamming and impersonation, can impact operations and service delivery, but can also have political and diplomatic consequences, with allocation of responsibility difficult.

The EU underlined that space has become a strategic domain and an essential enabler for all day-to-day activities, be it the Internet, telecommunications or the movement of people, ships, aircraft or vehicles.

It therefore plays a central role in security and defence. The United States created the US Space Force in 2019 to ensure the security of its space infrastructure. Many other countries like China and Russia already have institutions that provide security and defense in space.

Josep Borell insisted on this question: “We must therefore guarantee our ability to operate safely and permanently the infrastructures essential to our societies, including against threats in space. Last November, Russia deliberately destroyed one of its satellites, an irresponsible act that generated dangerous debris.”

European investment in space

As reported by the European Union‘s External Action Service, the European space industry achieved a turnover of 74 billion euros in 2019, which represents between 15 and 20% of the global market. , and directly employs 48,000 people.

The European space program has been allocated €13.2 billion in the new multiannual financial framework – the largest ever space budget at EU level.

In this field, the EU is increasingly involved, with two notable successes: Galileo, which provides positioning, navigation and synchronization, and Copernicus, the largest Earth observation system.

EU space infrastructure

The Commission has also proposed to launch a new strategic EU space infrastructure in addition to Galileo and Copernicus.

This is a major initiative to provide the EU with secure connectivity based in the European space.

According to the EU’s External Action Service, this will provide two services. A highly secure government communication service, which will provide ultra-secure – quantum encrypted – communication with multiple defense and civilian users and high-speed broadband access service, to provide internet access to all and reduce the Numeric fraction.

According to the EU’s External Action Service, key features of the proposal include its security-by-design, which is a prerequisite for high-end security, and use in defence. The satellites will have a north-south orbit, meaning they will cover all of Africa and the Arctic. As a result, they can offer high-speed internet everywhere in Africa. Such an initiative is known as the “Global Gateway”.

The total cost of this project would be approximately €6 billion, of which the EU contribution would amount to €2.4 billion. The rest of the funding should come from Member States and from a public-private partnership system.

The EU wishes to increase investment in defense research and capability development, notably through the European Defense Fund (EDF), in order to facilitate synergies between the civil and defense domains, and to encourage the joint acquisition of defense capabilities by the EU.

The European Commission has highlighted the importance of countering hybrid threats and strengthening cybersecurity and cyberdefence.

The Threat of Space Debris

Space debris threatens space infrastructure in general. There is a huge increase in satellites and space debris.

Humanity has launched 11,800 satellites since the start of the space age in the 1960s, of which 4,550 are currently operational. More than 20,000 new satellites will be launched over the next decade – and that’s only a conservative estimate. In addition, there are 128 million pieces of debris smaller than 1 centimeter orbiting the Earth, and nearly a million between 1 and 10 centimeters.

This threatens space infrastructure and space services. It risks affecting daily life, economies and societies, as well as security and defence.

The EU wants to strengthen its capabilities to detect and catalog more space objects and avoid collisions.

The EU also underlined that space is a global commons that the international community must protect and manage.

Therefore, the EU is aiming for a multilateral approach at UN level to prevent collisions and control spaceflight.

Critical Technologies

The European Union wants to develop critical technologies for security and defence, by stimulating European research, development and innovation in close cooperation with Member States and key partners, in particular the United States and NATO.

Strategic dependencies on critical security and defense technologies. must be reduced.

This initiative is linked to the work of the European Defense Agency (EDA) on defense innovation, in particular through the Defense Innovation Hub proposed by the EDA.

The agenda developed in this “defence” package enriches previous work and helps to further strengthen the strategic compass of the European Union.

External action of the European Union – Diplomatic Service of the European Union

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