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European co-operation in the field of space

Recommendation 461 (1966)

Parliamentary Assembly
Assembly Debate on 5th May 1966 (6th and 7th Sittings) (seeDoc. 2051,Doc. 2051,Report of the Cultural and Scientific Committee, andDoc. 2067, Opinion of the Economic Committee on that Report). Text adopted by the Assembly on 5th May 1966 (7th Sitting).

The Assembly,

1. Recalling Recommendation 251 (1960) on European co-operation in space research and space technology ;
2. Having regard to Resolution 284 (1964) on its role in the development of European co-operation in the scientific field ;
3. Having examined the 1st Annual Report of the European Space Vehicle Launcher Development Organisation (ELDO), which that Organisation has addressed to the Council of Europe in accordance with Article 12 of the London Convention by which ELDO was set up ;
4. Considering that a fruitful dialogue on space matters between Governments and Members of Parliament would be fostered by the submittance of annual reports to the Assembly from the European Conference on Satellite Communications (CETS), from the European Space Research Organisation (ESRO), as well as from ELDO;
5. Congratulating the CETS on having elaborated plans which would permit Europe to play a significant part in the development of a global satellite communications system, and convinced that even if Europe should decide to limit its space activities it must continue a joint and co-ordinated programme of satellite telecommunications and television transmission by satellites ;
6. Being aware that the gap between the space capacity of the USA and the USSR on the one hand, and that of Europe on the other hand, is wide and indeed widening ;
7. Conscious of the danger which exists that the competitive power of the European economy in world markets would decline if Europe did not take a wellbalanced, active and constructive part in space research and technology, in particular in the fields of satellite telecommunications and television transmission by satellites ;
8. Believing that in this sphere above all international co-operation on the widest possible basis is called for ;
9. Believing, nevertheless, that it is essential that Europe should play a significant part in its own right in the exploration of space for scientific purposes and in the exploitation of space technology for practical non-military purposes ;
10. Convinced that without a major launcher capacity of its own Europe will not in the last resort be able to play that part ;
11. Considering that the Committee of Ministers has recognised ?the common interest of member countries in making up the ground lost by Europe in the technical field, the importance of space research in this connection and the necessity for joint effort in this field?;
12. Considering the problems involved in the present scale of financial contributions to ELDO ;
13. Believing that urgent decisions require to be taken in the common interest by the Governments of the member States of the Council of Europe,

Recommends the Committee of Ministers :

14. To convene a Ministerial Conference of the member States of the Council of Europe at an early date, the aims of which should be :

to establish reasonable objectives, both short-term and longer-term, for Europe in space, bearing in mind :
a the urgency of Europe acquiring a full operational capacity in the technology of communications satellites ;
b the benefits of a common European programme to develop satellites for practical purposes other than pure communications (including television broadcasting) ;
c the need for Europe, therefore, to possess its own means of placing large satellites in orbit ;
to provide for the necessary allocation of resources, subject to effective budgetary control for such a programme ;
to establish a strong European organisation which would have, subject to Ministerial and Parliamentary control, the authority to co-ordinate the European effort in space and the resources to make that effort effective ;
While awaiting the establishment of such a strong organisation, to create a Committee of Ministers whose competence should embrace the present activities of ELDO, ESRO and CETS, and which should lay down a unified and joint European space policy and supervise its execution ;

15. To invite the Governments of the European member States of ELDO mean while to :

complete the carrying out of that Organisation's Initial Programme
give urgent consideration to its future programmes ;
take measures to strengthen and develop ELDO itself.