In his address, President Johann Schneider-Ammann cited Switzerland’s continuous commitment since the start of Europe’s space adventure, not only on a political level, but also on an industrial level and in terms of scientific research. He stressed the positive impact of investment in space activities on education, innovation, economic growth, and above all on reducing the risks of deindustrialisation. Switzerland is a reliable partner thanks to the quality of its technological products and its culture of collaboration. ESA remains the preeminent platform in Europe allowing its member states to accomplish collectively projects and missions, which would not be possible individually.
The president underlined the advantages enjoyed by the citizens and economies of Europe thanks to the advances made through ESA. This investment helps to boost scientific knowledge and technological expertise, as well as competiveness and more generally, our overall quality of life.
The ESA Ministerial Council meets every 3 to 4 years to set the course for future European space activities. At this year’s meeting the major decisions concern future and collective financing of the scientific programme, the earth observation programme and the technology aspect of telecommunications and integrated applications programmes.
While in Lucerne, Mr Schneider-Ammann also met with Mr Etienne Schneider, Luxembourg’s economic affairs minister, and Mr Luis de Guindos, Spain’s minister of economic affairs, industry and competitiveness, regarding the new chairmanship of the ESA Ministerial Council.
Switzerland and ESA
The European Space Agency has launched over 70 satellites into orbit and is currently running 18 scientific missions. ESA also manages the development of Galileo, the European satellite navigation system, several environmental observation satellites and the launchers Ariane and Vega. Each year Switzerland contributes around EUR 146 million to ESA. In 2016 the agency’s overall budget amounted to EUR 5.3 billion. Thanks to this participation, Swiss research institutes and aerospace companies are able to benefit and build on their excellent scientific and technological expertise, while maintaining access through competition to international projects and markets.
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