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27-11-2019 14:11

Address by the Minister of Transport, Communications and Works Mrs. Vassiliki Anastassiadou at the ESA Ministerial Council meeting

I would, first of all, to like to thank Spain as well as ESA for inviting the Republic of Cyprus to attend the ESA Council at Ministerial level as an observer. We consider these meetings to be extremely important for all of us.

Space19+ is a great opportunity to direct Europe’s ‘next generation’ ambitions in space, and address the challenges facing the European space sector and the European society as a whole.

Cyprus aspires to be a responsible space actor. In this regard, allow me to reiterate my country’s commitment in actively cooperating with the Members States of ESA as well as with all relevant stakeholders. We support ESA’s activities and we are monitoring closely the developments in satellite communications, earth observation and navigation, areas that are of particular interest to our domestic industry and academia.

Cyprus wants to be part of the space development and to benefit from the space systems, that are today essential for the wellbeing and security of the European citizens. We believe, the space sector together with the ICT sector, can be a driver for growth and regional cooperation.

The global space landscape is undergoing a profound transformation, with the emergence of "New Space". Space is no longer a prerogative of a handful of countries, driven firmly by public funding and interests; it is now maturing and shaped by new actors, such as new space-faring nations and in particular by new private actors.

Regarding the thematic discussed today, let me assure you that we attach great value in these issues. We believe that it constitutes a driver for innovation, science, research and development to achieve economic growth and enhance public security 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

By the signing of the ECS Agreement with ESA, Cyprus expect to further promote the cooperation with the Agency and its programs and activities and to prepare Cyprus in the most efficient manner for its possible future accession to the ESA Convention.

In particular, within this framework, we expect to promote the innovation and research, to educate our young engineers and scientists, and to create the critical mass needed for our universities and industry to be more competitive in exploiting more funds in space applications. I am very happy to announce that we took the decision to increase our subscription to ESA PECS by 300.000 euros per year starting in 2019.

Very recently, Cyprus became a member of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful uses of Outer Space (known as COPUOS), and we are on the way to prepare the National Space Strategy.  We are also exploring the potential of establishing a Space Agency.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Cyprus has seen major developments in satellite communications infrastructure and space assets. Currently there are established gateway facilities and TT&C stations for major European operators. These facilities are now expanding to support new satellites that are scheduled for launch in the coming years.

Cyprus has one of the best climate conditions for earth observation. The earth observation sector in Cyprus is one of our priorities. The opportunities that arise from the related EU programmes, especially Copernicus, should be fully taken for our advantage.

In this context, our Ministry is a partner of the Horizon 2020 teaming Project named EXCELSIOR, recently selected by the European Commission as a winning Proposal. The aim of the project is to upgrade an existing Research Center and make it a world class innovation, research and education center that uses cutting edge space technologies for monitoring the environment.

Concluding, I would like to stress that Cyprus strongly supports the resolutions presented to us today and also the DG’s proposal, since the strengthening of the relations between ESA and EU will create a suitable environment for the successful implementation of European Space Strategy, which is a key to Europe’s long term success to Space.

Thank you for your attention and I wish all of you a productive and fruitful meeting.

( DC )