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Defence Industry and Space
News article21 September 2023

IRIS2: European Commission and European Space Agency signed a Contribution Agreement

Today, the European Commission signed a Contribution Agreement with the European Space Agency (ESA), a key building block in establishing the Union Secure Connectivity Programme. 

IRIS2 signature
ESA-S. Corvaja

Only a few months after the entry into force of the Regulation (EU) 2023/588. The contribution agreement builds on the Financial Framework Partnership Agreement signed between the Commission,  ESA and EUSPA in 2021 for implementation of the EU space programme. The Contribution Agreement is adapted to the innovative aspects of the Union Secure Connectivity Programme and based on lessons learnt to improve efficiency and effectiveness of the programme implementation.

Stability and continuity for public and private sector partnerships

The Contribution Agreement will be concluded for 12 years to align the timeline with that of the concession contract for the implementation of the Union Secure Connectivity Programme, for which the public procurement is currently ongoing. It is critical to create a stable and predicable framework when dealing with the private sector partners. The Contribution Agreement also provides the necessary safeguards to take account of both institutions’ decision-making and without prejudging the funding available in the next financial perspectives. Moreover, a coordination mechanism will be set in place to guarantee that both entities act in unison when implementing activities on secure connectivity via the Union programme and the related ESA programme.

Role of the European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (ESA) will be entrusted with an important role: the Qualification and Validation Authority of the governmental infrastructure. Concretely, ESA will help ensuring that industry will deliver as per the requirements of the European Union. ESA will also assist the Commission in defining future generation of systems. To carry out its mission, ESA has been delegated a budget of EUR 380 millions.


Publication date
21 September 2023