Access Alert: European Commission opens targeted consultation on the EU Space Law

Access Alert: European Commission opens targeted consultation on the EU Space Law

The European Commission has just opened a targeted consultation on the EU Space Law, which will legislate on safety, resilience, and sustainability in space activities.

Protectionist Risk

The consultation proposes new legally binding requirements and standards that would significantly increase the regulatory burden for non-European players, potentially making it impossible for them to participate in European programmes and procurement. This aligns with the theme of European strategic autonomy, but needs to be calibrated carefully to avoid limiting access to world-leading innovation for European citizens and businesses. European businesses may directly benefit from the provisions, but also rely on an international ecosystem. As such, it’s important the law retains an open and competitive environment for an ultimately successful European space ecosystem.

Main Themes

The consultation focuses on three areas:

  1. Safety, covering protection and well-being of astronauts, spacecraft, and the orbital environment, mitigating risks and ensuring long-term viability of space activities;
  2. Sustainability, to gather input on practices to minimise the negative impacts of space operations on the Earth’s environment for the entire life cycle of space activity; and
  3. Security and Resilience, suggesting three policy options for how the EU engages and shapes international best practice in this area.

Next Steps

The consultation closes to submissions on 2 November 2023.

After reviewing responses, the European Commission is expected to publish draft legislation at the end of Q2 2024. With the pressure around incoming European elections however, this file could have a fast-tracked legislative process and it would not be a surprise if it were to move more quickly.

Whichever the outcome of the draft, it is clear the EU is positioning itself further as a space actor in its own right – this legislative process will play an important role in defining the power dynamic between the European Commission, European Space Agency, and EU member states.

Access Partnership closely monitors space, spectrum, and tech, regulation and policy developments. For more information, please email [email protected] and [email protected].

 

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