First of all, I want to thank the Spanish colleagues for welcoming us in Madrid to discuss Space Governance at EU level.
A new Belgian delegation will do the follow up of the space policy on Belgian level and I am pleased along with my colleague Christie Morreale to continue the work done by the precedent delegation led by Dominique Tilmans who did a great job in organizing the Belgian EISC in 2013 with a trio partnership with France and Poland.
As we have the opportunity to present national initiatives, let me first of all – but most of you already know – say that our country plays a significant role on the global and European space scene thanks to the strong support provided by public authorities and to the world-renowned expertise of its scientific and industrial stakeholders.
Specifically, space in Belgium is :
Public funding from all government levels, which has brought the country to the 7th place worldwide in terms of civil space funding relative to GDP and 2nd place in Europe in terms of public space funding per capita;
At Federal level, annual public funding of around € 200 million, of which 175 are invested in the ESA programmes and projects, which makes our country the 5th largest contributor to ESA’s budget.
Over 70 research teams in universities, federal or regional scientific institutions or specialized centres. We can highlight e.g. the Centre spatial of Liège and ESA Redu among the successful initiatives.
Over 60 companies of various sizes working in different fields, with an estimated total annual space turnover of some € 350 million;
More than 2000 highly qualified direct jobs;
Finally, I want to conclude by saying that Belgium will create within the coming month an Interfederal Space Agency called BELSPACE which will bring together the Federal Authority, but also the Regions (being competent for economy in our complex institutional system).
The goal of this new agency is, amongst others, to :
Rise the efficiency and effectiveness of our work and investment into EU space programs;
Adapt the structures regarding Belgian governance evolution but also to follow up changes in EU space structure;
Increase the visibility of Belgian space industry on EU level.
Accompany EU programmes such as Galileo, Copernicus, Ariane 6
I do really look forward to discovering more of what has been and is being done in Europe, Spain and on a National level and we wish our greatest success for the Spanish EISC Presidency.