On 18 Dec 2013 Switzerland signed a cooperation agreement to participate in the Galileo and EGNOS programmes. Switzerland will now fully financially participate in the programmes, and will retroactively contribute €80 million for the period 2008-2013.
The agreement, signed in Brussels, also covers cooperation in areas such as security, export control, standards, certification and industrial cooperation.
European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship commented:
“I welcome Switzerland’s decision to fully step on board the European space programme. This co-operation will not only help to provide better results for the EU’s satellite navigation services, it will also open up a series of business opportunities for small and medium sized enterprises both from Switzerland and the EU.”
Through its membership of the ESA, Switzerland has contributed to Galileo’s development phase. For example, the state-of-the-art hydrogen-maser clocks used by the Galileo satellites originate from Switzerland. Such extremely accurate clocks are crucial to a number of sectors. Wireless telecommunication networks use Galileo satellites’ timing signal for network management, for time tagging and for synchronisation of frequency references. Certified time stamps are also necessary for applications such as electronic banking, e-commerce, stock transactions, quality assurance systems and services.
With the signing of this agreement Switzerland will now participate in the EU satellite navigation programmes and in their committees and working groups. Norway, another ESA member who is not a member of the EU, signed a similar agreement with the Commission in 2010.
Studies show that Galileo will deliver around €90 billion to the EU economy over the first 20 years of operation, while from now until 2020, the EU will spend €7 billion on satellite navigation.