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GALILEO strengthens Euro-Mediterranean partnership

The 1st Euro-Mediterranean Global Satellite Navigation Systems (GNSS) Seminar, organised by the European Commission, was held in Cairo on 16-17 February. This was the first of a series of actions planned to strengthen the Euro-Mediterranean partnership and its regional transport policy through GNSS.

The seminar successfully increased the awareness of decision makers, service providers and product manufacturers of the potential of GALILEO and EGNOS(1) for the Mediterranean region. It provided the opportunity to identify key priorities and common interests in the GNSS sector for the MEDA(2)(3) partners and initiated contacts at institutional and industrial levels.

This was the first of a series of actions on satellite navigation by the European Commission in cooperation with its MEDA partners. A project to launch demonstration and training activities in the region is being established and discussions are on-going to establish a cooperation office as the focal point for satellite navigation activities in the area. Several Mediterranean countries have submitted bids to host this centre.

The seminar, attended by 200 officials and business executives both from the EU and the MEDA partners, discussed the wideranging potential of satellite navigation to address the needs of the Mediterranean countries. The discussion focussed on the benefits to transport safety, agriculture, fisheries, water management, mining, and trade, including the various applications already in use, such as:
- The MIDAN flight test campaign, which was held over Cairo airport in October 2002 bringing together civil aviation authorities from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrein, and ENAV, the Italian Air Traffic Service Provider. This was supported by the European Commission and the European Space Agency and demonstrated Europe's Satellite Navigation capabilities offering unprecedented performance.
- The impact of EGNOS and Galileo on navigation in the Egyptian local waters especially the Gulf of Suez, Gulf of Agaba and the Red Sea.
- Differential GNSS services to cover the South Mediterranean maritime territories.
- GNSS service needs in agriculture, forestry and fisheries in Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria.
- The AMED project to develop an airborne simulation platform for the location of fishing vessels and oil spills throughout the region.
- Status and trends in surveying and mapping.
- Joint plans for the EGNOS service Extension to the Western Mediterranean area involving Algeria, Morocco, Spain, France, and Portugal.

Note to editors:

The seminar was an outcome of the action plan adopted by the Euro-Mediterranean Conference of Ministers for Foreign Affairs in Valencia and was held at the ministry of Civil Aviation in Cairo, Egypt. It addressed the state-of-play in the European satellite navigation initiatives GALILEO and EGNOS and besides European institutions and MEDA partners administrations, a range of industry representatives, service providers, product manufacturers and research representatives were attending.

GALILEO will enable users to determine very precisely their position in time and space at any given moment: the resulting applications in everyday life are many and varied, ranging from radionavigation in private cars to transport safety, as well as spin-offs for various commercial activities (banking, geology, public works, energy, etc.). This cutting-edge technology is crucial in technological, economic and strategic terms for the future of Europe. EGNOS is Europe's first step into satellite navigation.

Further information on GALILEO and EGNOS is available on the following website:

For additional information on MEDA please see:

Brussels,03 11 2003
European union
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