SatCen partners, users and stakeholders come together for the opening of the SatCen exhibit in celebration of the Centre’s 30th Anniversary
This year, the European Union Satellite Centre (SatCen) celebrates 30 years in support of EU Space, Security and Defence. To mark this particular event, SatCen organized a roundtable discussion and exhibit opening under the auspices of the Czech Presidency of the Council of the European Union and of the HR/VP Josep Borrell, with the support of the General Secretariat of the Council.
The event, which took place on Monday, November 7 in the Europa building, brought together SatCen users, partners and stakeholders to celebrate the Centre’s achievements over the past three decades, as well as reflect on its future.
Against the backdrop of today’s complex security environment, the event shed light on SatCen’s activities and increased relevance for the EU and Member States in the overall context of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), while at the same time showcasing the benefits of space for security on Earth.
In the words of SatCen Director Ambassador Sorin Ducaru, “SatCen is a concrete example of EU operational strategic autonomy. It is both a diplomatic tool to implement EU policies and an operational tool for civilian and military actions.
Every euro invested in SatCen has a multiplier effect: every SatCen product – analysis or specialized artificial intelligence tools developed at SatCen, as well as our large imagery database, are shared with all Member States.”
SatCen: Past, present and future developments
In her welcoming remarks, Ambassador Jitka Látal Znamenáčková, Deputy Head of the Czech Permanent Representation to the EU, underlined the Czech Presidency’s support for the Centre and commitment to the implementation of the Strategic Compass.
General Robert Brieger, Chairman of the EU Military Committee discussed SatCen’s key support to EU Missions and Operations, and the renewed requirement for collaboration in “a world where security is more of a concern” than ever before
Mr Xavier Pasco, from la Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique, focused on “The future of Space, Security and Defence”, underlining the need for looking into the future through an integrated security infrastructures approach.
A Roundtable Discussion on SatCen’s Future
The roundtable event, titled “SatCen in the Next 3 Decades: Strategic Role for the EU Security, Defence and Space Ambitions” was moderated by Mr Daniel Fiott, from the Real Instituto Elcano, and included the valuable participation of Amb. Balfoort (EEAS), Adm. Bléjean (DG EUMS), Ambassador Ducaru (SatCen), Amb. van den Heuvel (Council), Mrs Papantoniou (European Commission) and Amb. Pronk (PSC Chair).
The panellists provided a complementary view from the military and civilian perspectives on the creation of a strategic culture and the use of intelligence to “empower” diplomacy. In these discussions, Amb. Pronk, PSC Chair, highlighted the relevance of SatCen as a “key CSDP/CSFP asset for informed situational awareness”, while Adm. Bléjean, DG EUMS, discussed the importance of SatCen’s analysis for EU missions and operations.
Amb. Balfoort, EEAS, explained SatCen’s dual role as an operational and diplomatic tool for the implementation of the Strategic Compass, while Amb. van den Heuvel, Council, claimed SatCen as a “good foreign policy tool that reinforces the EU as a credible and trustworthy partner and player”. Lastly, Ms Papantonious, from the European Commission, discussed the cooperation of the Centre with the Commission through its Copernicus Support for External Action component as well as the potential of the enhancement of the Commission’s cooperation with SatCen. The conclusion of the discussion was that the future role of SatCen can only grow, given the increased EU level of ambition in security, defence and space, as well as due to the increasing complexity of the security environment. The technological “gold rush” in the space and digital domains will offer great opportunities for the increase of the quality, volume and speed of delivery in SatCen’s activity
SatCen: “The Eyes of Europe”
In his keynote address, High Representative Josep Borrell emphasized the value-added provided by the Centre for EU institutions, Member States and in support of Common Foreign and Security Policy. In his words, “You (SatCen) are the eyes of Europe. Through the information that you are providing, we get to see and know better what is going on in the world.”
While highlighting the Centre’s achievements over the past 30 years, Josep Borrell also reflected on the future of the EU Satellite Centre within the context of an increased EU level of ambition in the field of security, defence and space, and in light of the unprecedented level of threats that the Union is facing. “A stronger Satellite Centre will contribute to building a common strategic culture in the European Union and to leverage the European Union as a strategic actor and as a global security provider. I want to stress these three words: a global security provider, with our won autonomous geospatial intelligence capacity”.
SatCen and Security from Space: a photo exhibition
SatCen’s activities on geospatial analysis will be on display in the Justius Lipsius Atrium from the 7th to the 18th of November. The exhibition, titled “SatCen and Security from Space: 30 years serving a European Security Endeavour” provides a first-hand view into SatCen’s geospatial analysis for a wide range of activities – from the support of EU Missions and Operations to analysis of irregular migration, critical infrastructure and battle damage assessment to climate change and the monitoring of cultural heritage sites.-
A digital twin of the exhibit will also be available on SatCen’s Anniversary website.
Keynote Address by H.E. HR/VP Josep Borrell
Concluding remarks by Director Sorin Ducaru
High Representative Josep Borrell’s Keynote at the exhibition marking its 30th anniversary: European Satellite Centre: Opening speech by High Representative Josep Borrell at the exhibition marking its 30th anniversary | EEAS Website (europa.eu)