The Assembly is convinced that those member states of the Council of Europe which are not members of the European Space Agency will also derive benefit, if indirectly, from the European space capability. In this connection it welcomes the fact that the ministers have emphasised ‘‘the need to ensure synergy between the Agency and the European Communities and between the Agency and other European organisations concerned while taking due account of their respective memberships and areas of responsibility''.
It is important to set up close co-operation with the space organisations that will take over from the former Soviet programmes.
The Assembly approves the initiatives towards the setting up of a European satellite control agency and considers the decision of the Western European Union (WEU) to set up a satellite data interpretation centre to be a decisive step in that direction. It considers that the Convention of the European Space Agency allows it to take selective action in the field of Earth observation activities for the purpose of verification and monitoring of the application of disarmament agreements.
The Assembly declares its support for the idea of an independent capability for manned space flights for Europe and for the idea of using Earth observation programmes to obtain a better understanding of environmental problems. Manned flights must pursue major scientific and technological goals, and profitability, considered from every angle, must not be lost from sight. Constant attention will be given to any cost overruns by manned flight projects, in order not only to keep within the limits of member states' financial commitments, but particularly to avoid jeopardising other projects. It wishes to congratulate the European Space Agency on the launching and operation of Olympus, Giotto, Hipparcos, Meteosat, the Space Telescope, Ulysses and ERS-1, and to assure it of its political support.
In addition to the European Space Agency, national space agencies play an important role. These agencies should be encouraged to exchange their information and to co-ordinate their work in order to preserve complementarity and avoid duplication at European level.
The Assembly supports in general the decisions taken by the ministers of the member states of the European Space Agency at their meeting in Munich on 19 and 20 November 1991, which are in accordance with its own aims. The annual frequency of ministerial meetings should not however constitute any hindrance to the longer-term commitments required for execution of the space plan.
Long-term planning must offer adequate guarantees in respect of continuity and stability, so that the position and long-term planning of the research workers and undertakings concerned are not jeopardised. In addition, the Assembly urges the European Space Agency to pay special attention to the scientific and technological impact on its member states, particularly the smallest ones, of the ‘‘fair return'' on their contributions.
It instructs its President to communicate this resolution to the Council and the Executive of the European Space Agency, as evidence of political support, on the widest geographical basis, for the European long-term space plan.