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The European Union and space: opportunities and risks

Non-proliferation Paper No. 37

Non-proliferation Paper No. 37

Publisher: SIPRI
11pp.
January, 2014

Access to space is becoming increasingly important for both public (including military and civilian) and private users, including for the European Union (EU) and its member states. The different purposes for which space is being exploited make it a dynamic and rapidly growing domain. As the number of terrestrial activities that depend on the space environment increases, so too do the potential vulnerabilities to disruption. Regrettably, the system of governance needed to reduce risks associated with an increasingly complex, congested and competitive space environment is evolving more slowly. The EU has made a significant investment of human, technical and financial capital to develop the relevant capacities to make use of the opportunities provided by space. This investment is likely to continue to grow. If it is not possible to manage the space environment effectively, these investments will not realize their full potential and might even be put at risk. The EU has likewise sought to contribute to the development of an effective governance system, including through the development, and further elaboration of, an international code of conduct for outer space activities.