MEPs want to send a network of their own satellites into space. It is intended to make Europe more independent of third parties and better protect critical infrastructure. Citizens should also benefit from significantly faster Internet. EU Commissioner Thierry Britton calls the move "historic".
The EU wants to ensure secure communication for companies and citizens with a satellite network. Negotiators from the EU Parliament and the member states agreed to set up a so-called satellite constellation called Iris² (Infrastructure for Resilience, Interconnection and Security by Satellites). For this purpose, 2.4 billion euros are to come from the EU budget in the coming years, according to a statement.
"This program is an important step towards more strategic autonomy in Europe," said CSU MEP Angelika Niebler about the new program. The war in Ukraine has shown that the EU has so far been completely dependent on third countries or private companies for satellite telecommunications. "The program decided today is intended to change this," said Niebler.
Above all, Iris is intended to ensure the resilience of the EU systems - also to protect critical infrastructure such as energy networks or healthcare - as well as the access of citizens and companies to fast Internet. Not only should radio dead spots in Europe be filled with high-speed Internet, but the connection should also be made possible in strategic regions such as Africa and the Arctic. The new services should be fully operational from 2027.
The agreement still has to be formally confirmed by the EU Parliament and the states, but this is considered a formality.