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Volume 470: debated on Tuesday 15 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will make a statement on final operational control arrangements for the Galileo Supervisory Authority, with particular reference to the mechanism for shutdown in time of conflict. (178205)

Galileo is a European Union programme and the European GNSS Supervisory Authority (GSA) is the EU agency that will regulate and manage the system on behalf of the Community.

Galileo will not be fully operational until 2013 at the earliest, and the final operational control arrangements within the appropriate institutional framework have yet to be decided. These arrangements are likely to be progressed during discussions on access policy for the public regulated service of Galileo, on which we expect the Commission to make proposals during 2008.

The Council of Ministers has repeatedly confirmed that Galileo is a civil programme under civil control. The operation of any navigation aid, such as Galileo, can nevertheless have security implications for member states. A Council joint action of 2004 provides that any aspects of the operation of Galileo which affect member states’ security can be referred to the Council, which would take the necessary decisions—including the option of suspending normal service—by unanimity.