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The Council took note last week of the Presidency's progress report on the regulations establishing structures for the management of European satellite radio-navigation programs. The Council aims to further implement these programs, given the substantive changes in the financial, governance and procurement procedures of the Galileo program.
Regulation dating to the year 2004 established a Community agency called the European Global Navigation Satellite System Supervisory Authority. The agency's original role and tasks were defined to meet the requirements of the system provided for at that time for the concession for the management and financing of the Galileo program's deployment and operational phases. This system was discontinued in 2007, and responsibility for the management and financing of the deployment phase of the program is no longer in the hands of the private sector.
To reflect that the Galileo Joint Undertaking would cease activities on December 31, 2006, a Community agency - called the European GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) Supervisory Authority - was established in 2006.
Regulation (EC) No 683/2008, which entered into force on July 25, 2008, defined the new framework for the public governance and financing of the Galileo and EGNOS programs. It set out the principle of the strict division of responsibilities between the European Community (represented by the Commission), the Authority and the European Space Agency, granting the Commission responsibility for the management of the programs and setting out precisely the tasks given at that time to the Authority. It also provided that the Authority will accomplish such tasks entrusted to it, while respecting the Commission's role as manager of the programs and in accordance with guidelines issued by the Commission.
The Council wants to bring provisions of regulation from the year 2004 into line with those of 2008. Firstly, the current situation, characterized by the coexistence of two texts that contradict each other in places, is said by the Council to be unsatisfactory from a legal point of view. It says the uncertainty and ambiguity created by this situation must be removed as soon as possible, to ensure the credibility of the program's legal framework, particularly vis-Ã -vis third parties.
Secondly, the Council claims a solid framework for security is urgently required. The Regulation of 2008 stipulates that the Commission is to manage all questions relating to the security of the systems, but also makes the Supervisory Authority responsible for ensuring security accreditation. The precise role of the Authority in this regard therefore needs to be clarified.
Thirdly, the Council wants to ensure the Commission's governance over these programs. Although the Regulation from 2008 implicitly and comprehensively amended the Supervisory Authority's responsibilities, it had no impact on its internal organization, and the Commission's influence in this area continues to be very limited.
To ensure that the Authority acts while respecting the "Commission's role as manager of the programs and in accordance with guidelines issued by the Commission," it is necessary to make changes to increase the Commission's influence within the Authority's internal organization. This approach also reflects the new policy defined by the Commission with regard to Community agencies.
During the examination of the proposal by the working party, all delegations supported the objective of the proposal and recognized the need to address the inconsistencies between the different regulations as soon as possible. However, the draft regulation raised some concerns that are related mainly to security matters.
The work on this matter is supposed to be continued under the Swedish Presidency, focusing in particular on issues regarding tasks of the security-accreditation committee and voting rights of the Commission in the administrative board.
Ari Syrquin is the head of the International Department at GSCB Law Firm.
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