In the first joint session of space council held on Tuesday since 2011, leaders of 22 members Space Agency of Europe and 28 members EU, it was said that a closer collaboration was needed amid the rising global competition. The space council would meet one time per year, said the minister for innovation, science and universities of Spain, Pedro Francisco Duque, on May 28 during a conference held in Brussels. He said that Germany, who is a member of ESA and EU, has proposed that they would organize the council session of 2020. Sustainable development and climate change are the topics that were put forward for discussion for the space council, said the commissioner of European Union Elżbieta Bieńkowska.
The officials of Europe at the conference held in Brussels stayed away from discussing as to why Space Council, which began in 2004 had a long gap in meetings. The Director General of ESA Jan Woerner, who attended the last meeting held in 2011, instead stressed on the importance of space council going ahead. He said that one could always ask why, but the main thing is future and it is clear that today they are having a space council.
The step of revitalizing the council came after what Woerner said a shift in the paradigm in space, which is driven largely by large corporations, startups, increased competition internationally and technology breakthroughs, although he did not highlight any specific catalyst. The minster of innovation and research of Romania, Nicolae Hurduc, the chairman of European Union’s session of competitiveness council on May 28, that preceded this council meeting, said her country has felt a need to lead the effort as the European nations would be able to do more when they are together than being separate. The rising size of EU’s space budget is one factor that has become the driving force for the two organizations to come together.