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EU Space Strategy for Security and Defence

for a stronger and more resilient European Union

In 2022, EU leaders identified space as a strategic domain in the Strategic Compass and called for an EU Space Strategy for Security and Defence. Building on this political momentum, the Commission and the High Representative have developed the first-ever EU Space Strategy for Security and Defence.

In the current geopolitical context of increasing power competition and intensification of threats, the EU is taking action to protect its space assets, defend its interests, deter hostile activities in space and strengthen its strategic posture and autonomy.

Executive Vice-President for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age, Margrethe Vestager, said: “A lot of the things we do in space are crucial for the functioning of our society and economy. It keeps essential services running for public administrations, private companies and citizens. With this joint communication we take action to protect our assets in space with a view to increasing the common understanding among member states for a more coherent Europe in space.”

High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, said: “Space has become a key enabler not only for our European societies and economies, but also for security and defence. Without security, there can be no future in Space. As highlighted in the Strategic Compass, space is a strategic domain. For the first time, we are putting forward a strategy that will pull together all our tools to protect EU space assets and ensure that everyone can benefit from space services.”.

Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, said: “Space plays a vital role in both our economic and security interests, but it is also an increasingly contested arena with competing interests vying for dominance. The EU's new strategy marks a paradigm shift, aimed at bolstering our resilience in and from space. It bridges the gap between space and defence, breaking down silos and strengthening our flagship programs in space for security and defence purposes.”

Shared understanding of space threats

The Strategy outlines the counterspace capabilities and main threats in space that put at risk space systems and their ground infrastructure, building on a common definition of the space domain. To increase the common understanding of threats across Member States, the High Representative will prepare a classified annual space threat landscape analysis at EU level, drawing on Member States´ intelligence.

Threats in the space domain

 

Resilience and protection of space systems and services in the EU

The Strategy proposes actions to strengthen the resilience and protection of space systems and services in the EU. For this purpose, the Commission will:

Consider proposing an EU Space Law to provide a common framework for security, safety, and sustainability in Space, that would ensure a consistent and EU-wide approach.

Set up an Information Sharing and Analysis Centre (ISAC) to raise awareness and facilitate exchange of best practices among commercial and relevant public entities on resilience measures for space capabilities.

Launch preparatory work to ensure long-term EU autonomous access to space, addressing in particular the security and defence needs.

Enhance the technological sovereignty of the EU by reducing strategic dependencies and ensuring security of supply for space and defence, in close coordination with the European Defence Agency and the European Space Agency.

 

Responding to space threats

The strategy proposes to expand the existing space threat response mechanism which is already used for the protection of Galileo to all space systems and services in the EU.

It calls for the efficient and timely mobilisation of relevant EU tools to respond to space threats.

The Strategy proposes appropriate access to space domain awareness information  through relevant national space commands to characterize inapproriate behaviours in orbit and protect EU assets.

Space exercises, including with partners, will help to test and develop EU response to space threats and to explore solidarity mechanisms.

 

Use of space for security and defence

Using space for security and defence

The Strategy proposes to maximise the use of space for security and defence purposes. The development dual-use services requires to take into account defence requirements when preparing the evolution of the EU space programmes.

The Strategy proposes the launch of two pilots: one for the delivery of initial space domain awareness services building upon capacities of Member States, and another for a new earth observation governmental service as part of the evolution of Copernicus, and complementing existing assets.

The strategy also commits to better connect space, defence and security at EU level and ensure synergies and cross-fertilisation, notably in terms of research and development. It proposes concrete measures to foster collaborative work between space and defence start-ups and to enhance skills.

Partnering for responsible behaviors in space

The EU will strengthen its engagement in multilateral fora and promote norms, rules and principles of responsible behaviours in outer space through concrete and pragmatic steps.

The strategy calls for developing space security dialogues with third countries, in particular with the Unites States and other likeminded countries. EU-NATO cooperation will also be developed.

 

 

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Related materials

General publications10 March 2023
Factsheet EU SSSD
English
(1.05 MB - PDF)
Download
General publications9 March 2023
Infographics - Threats in the space domain
English
(4.92 MB - PDF)
Download
General publications9 March 2023
Infographics - Using space for security and defence
English
(8.6 MB - PDF)
Download

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