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Defence Industry and Space
News article14 February 20231 min read

Adoption by the European Parliament of IRIS², Europe’s new Infrastructure for Resilience, Interconnection & Security by Satellites

EP Press point IRIS

Today the European Parliament plenary in Strasbourg adopted the report on the proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the Union Secure Connectivity Programme (IRIS²) for the period 2023-2027.

A record adoption (603 votes in favour, 6 against) that concludes a record 9 months of trilogues negotiations to reach a political agreement last November.

IRIS² will soon join its counterparts GALILEO & COPERNICUS and compliment them by providing sovereign, secure, resilient and cost-effective seamless communication services, with initial services by 2024 and full operational capacity by 2027. IRIS² will also provide secure connectivity and broadband services throughout dead zones bridging the digital divide not only to the European Union but also to its partners. 

This programme is the new flagship of the European space strategy to enhance the EU’s resilience and capacity to answer to threats and foreign interference.

This is a giant leap for EU’s technological sovereignty made possible by the joining of forces of the public and private sector. A trio of funds will finance this new critical EU infrastructure: €2.4 billion from the EU budget, plus €685 million from the European Space Agency, while the rest will be covered by the private sector. All technological contributions are welcome on board from major European space industries to start-ups, which will build 30% of this multi-orbit constellation.

The Council of the European Union will be adopting the text soon, whereupon manufacturers can start forwarding proposals to build, launch and deploy IRIS² in space.

Now that the decision-makers have officially come to an agreement, the future of IRIS² is in the hands of the industry. The Commission is expecting to receive proposals from the manufacturers for the deployment of the satellites

I am delighted of the outcome of today's vote, which marks a historic turning point for the EU's strategic autonomy, digital sovereignty and competitiveness. The Russian military aggression against Ukraine has demonstrated how crucial space-based sovereign and secure communication services are in case of conflict. It also represents a game changer for EU citizens thanks to the development of high-speed broadband removing communication dead zones and strengthening EU’s cohesion policy.

Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal Market.


Publication date
14 February 2023