Copy_of_ESPI_webnews_180111_image1 18 January 2011. Experts from politics, space agencies, industry and academia met at ESPI to discuss status and perspectives of European Autonomy in Space. The conference was held under the auspices of the Hungarian EU Council Presidency.

Autonomy has been a widely accepted concept for European space activities at least in certain domains. The capability of autonomous access to space, which was build up very successfully with the Ariane launcher series, is likely the most striking symbol for the employment of this concept up to today and Galileo its symbol of the future. However, what does “autonomy” or associated concepts like “non-dependence” really mean? And in which areas of space activities should autonomy be pursued? Can it be actually achieved or does Europe have to accept dependence or inter-dependence in certain areas? These were guiding questions for the deliberation during the various sessions. The conference received its particular significance through the application of a comparative analysis, mirroring space with other European policy areas. This innovative and so far uniquely applied approach led to striking insights relevant for Europe’s space policy development.

Speakers and moderators at the conference (from left): Gerhard Thiele (ESPI), Alfredo Roma (ESPI Advisory Council), Marcel Dickow (SWP), Kai-Uwe Schrogl (ESPI), Elöd Both (Hungarian Space Office), Samuel Schubert (Webster Vienna Private University), Rik Hansen (University of Leuven), Nicolas Warinsko (European Commission), Roger Bonnet (ISSI), Frank De Winne (ESA), Géraldine Naja (ESA), Jean Bruston (ESA), Alain Gaubert (ESPI Advisory Council), Jan Wouters (University of Leuven), Niklas Reinke (DLR), Michel Doubovick (Arianespace), Christophe Venet (IFRI)


Audience at the conference

 The conference was conducted under the auspices of the Hungarian EU Council Presidency 2011

The conference (programme download here) was opened by ESPI’s Director Kai-Uwe Schrogl together with the Head of the Hungarian Space Office, Elöd Both, representing the Hungarian EU Council Presidency and Geraldine Naja from the European Space Agency. Keynote addresses were given by Jiri Burianek, Director in the General Secretariat from the Council of the European Union, Liana Dumitrescu, Chairperson of the European Interparliamentary Space Conference (EISC) 2010 (as a written statement) and Michel Doubovick, Vice President of Governmental Affairs in Arianespace. They highlighted the issue from the European, Member States and industry’s viewpoints. Jan Wouters from the University of Leuven opened the deliberations with an exercise in definition, setting a framework for the then following panels, which put European policy areas in perspective with a closer investigation of the space sector. A specific focus was put on the aeronautics sector with the Single European Sky as a possibly guiding example, by Nicolas Warinsko from the European Commission.


Panel on European Policy Areas with Elements of Autonomy and Dependence (from left): Jan Wouters, Samuel Schubert, Amb. Peter Jankowitsch, Roger Bonnet, Hans Martens, Franco Algieri


Panel on Issue Areas for European Autonomy in Space (from left): Marcel Dickow, Frank de Winne, Alfredo Roma, Jean-Jacques Tortora, Christophe Venet, Niklas Reinke

Concluding Roundtable (from left): Roger Bonnet, Thomas Ballhausen, Gerhard Thiele, Frank de Winne, Jan Wouters, Alfredo Roma, Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Kai-Uwe Schrogl



The conference was attended by more than 80 persons from Europe and abroad. Speakers and moderators represented main relevant institutions in the field of space and also leading think tanks from outside the inner space community (like the European Policy Centre EPC, the Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy AIES or the German Institute for International and Security Affairs SWP). Three members of ESPI’s Advisory Council (Alain Gaubert, Amb. Peter Jankowitsch and Alfredo Roma) acted as moderators respectively commentators. Prominent speakers like Roger Bonnet, Frank de Winne and Johann-Dietrich Wörner provided exclusive insights into the European framework. The audience, composed of European (as the Director in the Austrian Transport Ministry BMVIT, Ingolf Schaedler, FFG CEO Klaus Pseiner and ALR Head Harald Posch) as well as international guests (particularly from Member States’ Missions to the United Nations in Vienna). ESA/ESOC provided exhibition models of Ariane 5 and Cluster.


The organization of the conference was led by ESPI Resident Fellow Gerhard Thiele. In the near future, a flyer on the main conference results addressed to decision-makers as well as two conference reports in acadmic journals will be published. Proceedings of the conference will be prepared for publication in late 2011 in the series “Studies in Space Policy”, edited by ESPI and published by SpringerWienNewYork.




The representative of the Hungarian EU Council Presidency Elöd Both, Head of the Hungarian Space Office
(second from left) and the Director in the EU Council Secretariat, Jiri Burianek (second from right) with ESPI’s Kai-Uwe Schrogl (left) and Gerhard Thiele (right) having presented with the ESPI Publication “Threats, Risks and Sustainability – Answers by Space”


Keynote speaker Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Chairman of the Executive Board of DLR, introduced by ESPI Resident Fellow Gerhard Thiele




- Programme

- Presentations








photo credits: ESPI

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