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Defence Industry and Space
News article25 January 20232 min read

The European Commission presented its space policy priorities for 2023 at the 15th European Space Conference

Opening speech

During the opening session of this year’s 15th European Space Conference, High-Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell and Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, presented the priorities for the 2023 European Space agenda and the challenges ahead, focusing on competitiveness, resilience, sovereignty, and security of the European Union in space.

High Representative/Vice-President Borrell highlighted the geopolitical context and importance of space, which has become even more evident since Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine. The Strategic Compass identifies space as a strategic domain and the need for joint action to address the common threats. To enhance the Union’s strategic standing in the geopolitical context, the High Representative and Commissioner Breton are planning to present an EU Space Strategy for Security and Defence this year.

As 2023 will be the year to start implementing IRIS², the new flagship programme for space-based secured connectivity, Commissioner Breton called on the European space industry to mobilise the necessary investments, and to build functional alliances to submit innovative and agile commercial services. Regarding innovation, the CASSINI initiative is running at full speed to turn Europe into a hub of space entrepreneurship, with more than 100 space-tech start-ups already receiving access to finance, matchmaking and business development. He also announced the selection of nine New Space companies to become suppliers of Copernicus Contribution Missions data, each of them receiving five-year contracts worth €5 million.

On Tuesday DEFIS Director-General Timo-Pesonen signed a cooperation arrangement with ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher and EUSPA Executive-Director Rodrigo da Costa, to boost space entrepreneurship in Europe. He also announced the creation of a new stock market index, together with ESA, Euronext and Promus Ventures, providing a benchmark for European space technology companies and offering better visibility from the investment community. Lastly, Director General announced the first EU-made and space qualified FPGA alongside with Edouard Lepape, General Manager of NanoXplore, a French company who developed the Field-Programmable Gate Array.



On Wednesday, Commissioner Gabriel delivered a closing speech at the conference together with the Italian astronaut, Samantha Cristoforetti. She recalled the relevance of the New European Innovation Agenda to enhance Europe’s strategic autonomy and attract talent in Europe. She also evoked how the space programme under Horizon Europe can address our major societal challenges.

DG DEFIS Management was highly committed to this edition of the event representing EU Space in over 12 sessions of the conference, in addition to the three “insider’s view” sessions that took place on the EU Space booth, tackling the issues of Skills, Sustainability, and Equality & Diversity in the space sector.

Big thanks to all the colleagues involved who contributed to the success of this 2023 edition.


Speeches are available here:



Publication date
25 January 2023