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Volume 448: debated on Wednesday 5 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the risk of the transfer to China of information which could be used for military purposes through China’s involvement in the Galileo project. (81044)

[holding answer 29 June 2006]: The current development phase is a joint project between the Directorate General for Transport and Energy in the European Commission and the European Space Agency (ESA). The Supervisory Board of the Galileo Joint Undertaking is established to ensure an adequate information flow and political control by member states of the implementation of the development phase.

The Government are aware of the sensitive nature of some parts of Galileo. We continue to monitor the project closely. We have been careful to ensure that any agreements with partners in the programme that are not member states of the EU or ESA specifically exclude them from participation in all sensitive aspects.

Individual member states of the ESA and EU participating in Galileo are responsible, under their own national and/or any international export control regimes—such as MCTR (Missile Technology Control Regime) and Wassenaar—of which they are signatories, for the control of strategic exports and should apply these rules to Galileo as required. For example, all EU countries follow the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports which prohibits export of military technology, including dual use technologies where a military end use is known or suspected, to non-EU states, including China, where this is inappropriate. An assessment of the risk of diversion to an undesirable end user or end use is a key criterion under the code. The UK Government assess Galileo technology proposed for transfer to non-EU states against these criteria.