23 March 2012. ESPI organised a workshop on “ESA Enlargement – What interested countries can do to prepare themselves for ultimate accession”.

With the accession of the Czech Republic and Romania and the start of accession negotiations with Poland the scene has been set for the gradual enlargement of ESA by all the Member States of the EU not yet members of ESA, bringing the total membership to 29 in the medium term.

ESPI organised, at its premises in Vienna, a workshop entitled “ESA Enlargement – What interested countries can do to prepare themselves for ultimate accession”. The objective of the workshop was to set up a discussion platform to elaborate on the process to facilitate the participation of new member states in ESA. Furthermore, it aimed at addressing the difficult transition from non-member state to member state, including measures aspiring states can take to help industry and scientific organizations survive in the competitive environment of ESA.

ESPI’s Director Peter Hulsroj together with the Head of the Aeronautics and Space Agency of the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG), Harald Posch, welcomed the participants to the workshop. The keynote address was given by Ms. Ene Ergma, President of the Parliament in Estonia and Chairperson of the Estonian Space Committee, who talked about the involvement of the parliaments. Afterwards, speakers from ESA addressed the strategic elements of ESA expansion and the development of space-based sustainable services. The morning session of the event was concluded with a discussion on accompanying processes, where four speakers presented the role of space industry as well as the idea of mentoring programmes and the concept of business angels. The afternoon session of the event focused on the opportunities and challenges for non-member states. High-ranking space representatives from 8 different CEE countries (member as well as non member states of ESA) provided their knowledge and experiences on the adaption and past accession processes respectively. In the course of the followed roundtable discussion they reviewed their national status and strategies.

Panel discussion with the panelists (from left): Fernando Maura (ESA), Madis Võõras (Head of Space Office by Enterprise Estonia), Vidmantas Tomkus (Director of the Lithuanian Space Association), Marius-Ioan Piso (President and CEO of the Romanian Space Agency), Roya Ayazi (Secretary General of NEREUS), Tomaž Rodič (Director of Space-SI in Slovenia), Marta Cimbáková (Director General of S&T Division of the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic), Karel Dobeš (Government Commissioner in the Ministry of Transport of the Czech Republic).

Audience at the workshop

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