EU Galileo project ill-conceived: auditor’s court

The EU’s much delayed satellite navigation network project Galileo has been ill-prepared and badly managed, the European Court of Auditors has charged.

As well as the commission the 27 member states came into criticism for promoting their own industries first and foremost.

The 30-satellite network is meant to challenge the dominance of the US-built GPS, which is widely used in navigation devices in vehicles and ships. The EU aims to have it up in space by 2013.

The EU has struggled to secure financing for the project’s budget, originally 3.4 billion euros – and has had to release unused funds from the bloc’s massive agricultural budget.

The audit examined the factors in the failure of the concession process and for delays and cost overruns of technological development.

While test satellites have been launched none of Galileo’s 30 operational satellites have been put in space yet.

The project was the first close collaboration between the ESA and the commission on such a large space programme, the first industrial programme to be managed at European level and the first time the commission was to participate in a public private partnership scheme.

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