The Open Europe Blog follows the financial meltdown of the European GPS system, Galileo. Not only has it been plagued by delays but there are real questions about whether a civilian market for it exists when a free service is already been provided by the US GPS system. One analyst said, "why pay for Pepsi Cola when you get Coca-cola for nothing?" EU Transport Commission Jacques Barrot says, “I don’t think Galileo has actually failed! That’s a misuse of language… we’ve had a change of scenarios.” The EU Referendum calls it the scandal the media has missed. Thoughts of a Technocat notes that Galileo will have a European military role after all and may need it, for want of customers. Barrot provides this masterpiece of circumlocution to say I think, what he should say openly. That Europe is buying insurance against the loss of access to GPS simply because it is too important to lose.
“Obviously there are civilian and military uses for this, but Galileo will remain a civilian system under civilian control, as the Council has reiterated time and time again. But that doesn’t mean that military users cannot use it, as long as they comply with certain principles. For example, we cannot stop the Italian Carabinieri or the Guarda Civil using Galileo to carry out their work, e.g. on search and rescue – these are military users.” He said Galileo “obviously cannot be off-limits to someone because they’re members of the military.” However he said he had no ‘mandate’ for discussing its military uses, saying he had tried to have conversations in London with ministers on this but lacked the necessary "mandate" for providing answers.
He summed up saying industry was “chomping at the bit” for Galileo, and that Europe must not wait, or it will fall further behind. Instead of wasting time asking “metaphysical” questions about its military uses etc, we should be seizing "Europe's chance to stay at the top of the league."