SatCen celebrates its 30th anniversary and inauguration of its extended headquarters
On Monday 26 September 2022, the EU Satellite Centre celebrated its 30th Anniversary and Inauguration of its Extended Headquarters.
This milestone event was conducted under the auspices of H.E. Pedro Sánchez, President of the Government of Spain, represented by H.E. Margarita Robles, Minister of Defence, and H.E. Josep Borrell, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission.
On the occasion of the anniversary celebrations, SatCen's Extended Headquarters was officially inaugurated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony by H.E. Margarita Robles, H.E. Josep Borrell and SatCen Director Sorin Ducaru.
Initiating the official ceremony, the SatCen Director, Ambassador Sorin Ducaru, welcomed the distinguished guests including Ambassadors of the EU Member States, high-level representatives from the EU Commission, the Council, as well as other EU and international organisations, delegations of partner organisations including from the Spanish host nation, and media representatives.
The Director summarized the Centre’s current status and provided an outlook on possible evolutionary steps. In his own words, “SatCen is a concrete example of EU operational strategic autonomy. It is concrete proof of EU pooling and sharing, that works. It is both a diplomatic tool to implement EU policies and an operational tool for civilian and military actions".
The 30th anniversary presented an opportunity to, on one hand, recall past achievements, while on the other, reflect on the drive and direction of its future development. In this regard, the Director underlined three key driving forces for SatCen’s development; the alignment with the EU's high level of ambition, the growing user demand and the technological gold rush in the digital and space domains.
H.E. Margarita Robles congratulated SatCen on the remarkable achievements of providing geospatial analysis services to European foreign and security policy over the course of three decades. In her keynote address, she praised the Centre for “providing information that greatly helps in the decision-making process of the European Union and the Member States in the fields of Common Foreign and Security Policy”. In this context, Minister Robles, discussed SatCen’s relationship with Spain as an essential one, “not only for being the first European agency to establish its headquarters in our country, but also because of the extremely important synergies it has generated” with Spain’s hi-tech ecosystem, enabling the transfer of knowledge, and contributing to the creation of a “true technological ecosystem”. H.E. Margarita Robles concluded by congratulating the SatCen staff for their valuable work, and wishing them the “same success and dedication, which are a guarantee of safety and wellbeing for all European citizens”.
SatCen managers presented highlights of SatCen's developments, including current operational priorities and key developments in information technology and artificial intelligence, briefed by the Head of Operations, Mr Álvaro Rodríguez, and the Centre's role in the EU Space Programme, presented by Ms Alessandra Ussorio, Deputy Head of Copernicus.
Key partners congratulated SatCen on its anniversary and provided testimonials of the close and trustful collaboration with the Centre, both in person as well as in video recordings, covering a wide spectrum of cooperation activities the Centre is engaged in.
In his keynote address, HR/VP Borrell emphasized the value of the autonomous geospatial intelligence services by which SatCen supports EU decision-making and actions on all levels. He further highlighted his commitment to enhancing SatCen’s role and aim to bring the Centre closer to the European Union’s “political orbit”. In his own word, “ The future is going to be written in space”, which he has defined as the “new battlefield”. In this context, SatCen becomes an even more strategic asset and capability, and as the HR/VP refers to it, “the eyes of Europe. Through this Satellite Centre, in Europe, from Brussels, in all capitals, we see what is happening”.
The HR/VP concluded that by directly mentioning SatCen in the Strategic Compass, the EU commits to further strengthen the Centre by 2025. >
This was followed by a Q&A session with media representatives.
SatCen Director Ducaru thanked all participants for their kind anniversary wishes and emphasized the valuable support and guidance the partners were providing in order to empower the Centre to fulfil its challenging mission of supplying relevant analysis services in the domain of space as well as foreign, security, and defence policy.
For more information on the event:
Welcoming Address of SatCen Director, Amb. Sorin Ducaru On the occasion of SatCen’s 30th Anniversary and Inauguration of its Extended HQ
Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell at the 30th anniversary of the European Satellite Centre