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Volume 471: debated on Monday 28 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment has been made of the effect of the positioning of a back-up control centre for Galileo in a different country from the primary control centre on the (a) costs and (b) operational effectiveness of the system. (180120)

The European Space Agency, which has the responsibility for the technical development of Galileo, has worked with European industry on the optimum design of the Galileo system, including the level of resilience that needs to be built into a system of this kind. This work identified the need for two fully interchangeable control centres that are geographically separated to protect against natural hazards such as earthquakes. The costs of the two centres are included in the cost ceiling of €3.4 billion for Galileo in the period of the Financial Perspective 2007-13.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made on the UK bid to host the permanent offices of Galileo; and if she will make a statement. (180312)

The Department for Transport, in partnership with the Welsh Assembly Government, the Wales Office, the Foreign Commonwealth Office and other Departments, continues to promote Cardiff as a location for the Galileo Supervisory Authority (GSA).

However, substantive discussions between member states on a permanent location for the GSA's offices will not take place until the authority's remit and powers have been defined in a European Regulation. This is expected to be passed later in the year.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made on determining (a) which legal regime will govern the concession contract of the Galileo programme and (b) which courts will have jurisdiction over the contract. (180314)

It was originally envisaged that Galileo would be built and operated by a private sector body under a concession contract. However, the Transport Council concluded in June last year that these concession negotiations had failed and should end. Instead, the Community has agreed that the deployment and initial operation of Galileo to 2013 should be taken forward through a public procurement managed by the Commission.

The December Transport Council agreed that decisions on arrangements for the subsequent operation of the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems could be taken only after further studies, and invited the Commission to undertake these by the end of 2008 bringing forward proposals at the appropriate time. Issues over which legal regime would govern any concession contract for operations, or which courts would have jurisdiction, will be considered at that point.