Heise: Spain refutes charges that it is blocking GalileoSpain is refuting charges that it is blocking Galileo, the European project for a satellite navigation system. In its Saturday issue, El País of Madrid quotes a high-ranking Spanish government official in Brussels who said that, “We only fighting for what was agreed in 2005.” Specifically, the official said that there was an agreement that Spain would have two control centres. But now, the Spaniard said that Germany and Italy are trying to undermine this agreement to get a larger mandate for themselves. He says that Spain will insist that this agreement reached at the end of 2005 be upheld at the meeting of EU transport ministers next week.
The Spanish official was reacting to charges from industry representatives that Spanish industry partners were preventing Galileo from moving forward. Apparently, all of the members of the industrial consortium aside from Spanish companies AENA and Hispasat have signed an agreement to found an operating company and appointed a representative to that company. Everyone else allegedly wants to launch the company “as soon as possible.” In addition to the two Spanish firms, the consortium includes Alcatel-Lucent, EADS, Finmeccanica, Inmarsat, TeleOp and Thales.
Industry insiders say that the dispute concerns a Spain’s demand for a third Galileo control centre, among other things. Up to now, only two control centres are being constructed, one in Oberpfaffenhofen near Munich and the other in the Italian town of Fucino. Industry experts say that a third centre is not needed.
On Friday, Germany’s Transport Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee (SPD) threatened to support a renewed call for tenders for the project, which is designed to help Europe break the monopoly that the United States currently has with its Global Positioning System (GPS). The consortium is expected to have a final deadline of May 10.