UK says shut out of EU's Galileo sat-nav contracts

June 14, 2018
A rocket launching with a Galileo satellite, which will boost Europe's sat-nav capabilities

Britain has been formally excluded from future contracts for the EU's Galileo satellite-navigation system, the government said on Thursday, condemning the decision as "completely unacceptable".

"I think this is really a case of the European Union doing damage to themselves," junior defence minister Guto Bebb told parliament, following a vote at the European Space Agency Council on Wednesday.

"On June 13 at the European Space Agency Council, member states agreed to proceed with the procurement of the next phase of Galileo. UK companies are not eligible to bid for these contracts," he said.

"By forcing through this vote, while excluding UK companies from the contracts on security grounds, the European Commission has put all of this at risk."

Bebb accused the European Commission of using Galileo participation as a "negotiating tactic", adding: "We would never negotiate on the basis of our security concerns".

The Galileo programme is intended both for commercial uses such logistics as well as for armed forces and emergency services.

Brussels has said it will deny London access to Galileo's encrypted signals after Brexit, citing legal issues about sharing sensitive information with a non-member state.

Britain played a major role in developing Galileo, an alternative to the US's GPS, which is expected to be fully operational in 2026.

The government may demand some £1.0 billion (1.4 billion euros, $1.3 billion) in compensation for its investment in the programme, according to earlier newspaper reports.

Britain could access the satellite navigation system as a third country at a later date but has said it is looking into the possibility of developing its own system instead.

Explore further: UK to demand EU repayment in Brexit satellite row

Related Stories

Satellite row tests UK's post-Brexit security plans

May 9, 2018

Britain outlined its proposals Wednesday for close security cooperation with the EU after Brexit, but these risk being undermined by the bloc's refusal to share sensitive data on the Galileo satellite project.

Recommended for you

Magnetized inflow accreting to center of Milky Way galaxy

August 17, 2018

Are magnetic fields an important guiding force for gas accreting to a supermassive black hole (SMBH) like the one that our Milky Way galaxy hosts? The role of magnetic fields in gas accretion is little understood, and trying ...

First science with ALMA's highest-frequency capabilities

August 17, 2018

The ALMA telescope in Chile has transformed how we see the universe, showing us otherwise invisible parts of the cosmos. This array of incredibly precise antennas studies a comparatively high-frequency sliver of radio light: ...

Six things about Opportunity's recovery efforts

August 17, 2018

NASA's Opportunity rover has been silent since June 10, when a planet-encircling dust storm cut off solar power for the nearly-15-year-old rover. Now that scientists think the global dust storm is "decaying"—meaning more ...

Another way for stellar-mass black holes to grow larger

August 17, 2018

A trio of researchers with The University of Hong Kong, Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics in Taiwan and Northwestern University in the U.S., has come up with an alternative theory to explain how some ...

Sprawling galaxy cluster found hiding in plain sight

August 16, 2018

MIT scientists have uncovered a sprawling new galaxy cluster hiding in plain sight. The cluster, which sits a mere 2.4 billion light years from Earth, is made up of hundreds of individual galaxies and surrounds an extremely ...

Hubble paints picture of the evolving universe

August 16, 2018

Astronomers using the ultraviolet vision of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have captured one of the largest panoramic views of the fire and fury of star birth in the distant universe. The field features approximately 15,000 ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.