The United States and the European Commission, joined by the European Union Member States, held a successful round of negotiations in Brussels on 24-25 February 2004. The delegations built upon progress made in The Hague and in Washington and were able to reach agreement on most of the overall principles of GPS/Galileo cooperation, including,
· Adoption of a common baseline signal structure for their respective open services
· Confirmation of a suitable baseline signal structure for the Galileo Public Regulated Service (PRS)
· A process allowing optimization, either jointly or individually, of the baseline signal structures in order to further improve performances
· Confirmation of interoperable time and geodesy standards to facilitate the joint use of GPS and Galileo
· Non-discrimination in trade in satellite navigation goods and services
· Commitment to preserve national security capabilities
· Agreement not to restrict use of or access to respective open services by end-users
· Agreement to jointly finalize associated documents after which the agreement will be presented for signature
The delegations will continue to work diligently to resolve the few remaining outstanding issues which concern primarily some legal and procedural aspects.
A technical briefing by Heinz Hilbrecht, Director in the European Commission, and Ralph Braibanti, Director in the Department Of State, will take place tomorrow, Thursday 26th February, in the European Commission press room (Breydel) at 11.15 am
I would like to bring your attention to a couple of choice aspects of this presser. The attempt by the Commission press flunkeys to add irony is a joy, thus - "were able to reach agreement" and even better "The delegations will continue to work diligently to resolve the few remaining outstanding issues which concern primarily some legal and procedural aspects" are my particular favourites.
However the issue of Galileo will not go away and I suspect that one of the oustanding aspects is the fact that Europe has been sucking up to the Chinese to such an extent that they have a major (30%0 if I am not mistaken in this piece of kit which has strong military applications.
Ho hum - methinks this story will run on
Dr Richard North has commented on sme of these very points in a short piece for the Bruges Group
As he says "Enemies [of America] may still be able to rely on Galileo, which the EU may continue to keep operational if it sees advantages in so doing, irrespective of US interests".