As Special Envoy for Space you coordinate space-related activities for the EEAS. In concrete terms, how does space support the EU’s CSDP today and what are the main challenges and prospects for the future? 

The space domain is playing an important role in preserving the security of our citizens and the independence of our actions. More specifically regarding CSDP, every EU space project – its flagships Galileo/EGNOS and Copernicusin particular – is providing various services, including defense and security ones.

Therefore each level of the CSDP governance, a field commander of an EU civilian/military mission or a political representative of the EU, should be aware of the capabilities of the EU space programs and should be able to benefit from them.

The main challenge ahead of us is to be able to constantly adapt to the rapidly changing international environment and to the technological development.
 

The space domain is playing an important role in preserving the security of our citizens and the independence of our actions.

 More specifically regarding CSDP, every EU space project – its flagships Galileo/EGNOS and Copernicusin particular – is providing various services, including defense and security ones.

Therefore each level of the CSDP governance, a field commander of an EU civilian/military mission or a political representative of the EU, should be aware of the capabilities of the EU space programs and should be able to benefit from them.

The main challenge ahead of us is to be able to constantly adapt to the rapidly changing international environment and to the technological development.
 

The EUGS calls for promoting the autonomy and security of the EU’s space-based services, including in defense-related domains. How can this goal be achieved? 

When speaking about space and autonomy, the first thing that comes to my mind is the EU Satellite Centre, an EU agency providing high-level geospatial analyses based on satellite imagery to the EEAS, the EU Member States and to some international organisations such as OSCE and OPCW. In the domain of CFSP and CSDP, the EU SatCen plays a crucial role simply because it provides a unique autonomous intelligence gathering capability. . Autonomy and security are also important objectives for other EU systems (Galileo and Copernicus again), framework (SST) and initiatives (GovSatCom for instance).
 

Economic diplomacy is one of Europe’s most efficient external relations tools, as particularly highlighted in the EU Global Strategy. How do you assess the relevance and efficacy of economic diplomacy in the space and defence sectors?

As it is stated in the Space Strategy for Europe: "The European space economy, including manufacturing and services, employs over 230 000 professionals and its value was estimated at EUR 46 - 54 billion in 2014." I am of the opinion that the EU space industry could serve as a case study for a more active engagement by EU institutions in advocating EU economic interests abroad. There are already some success stories and at the same time, a lot of work still needs to be done. Firstly we have to strengthen our internal EU coordination mechanism and secondly, we need to develop a coherent dialogue with the EU space industry simply because we should understand their needs and the EU space industry should be aware of our possibilities and limits as well.

François Rivasseau 

François Rivasseau currently serves as Special Envoy for Space and Head of Security Policy and Space, European External Action Service, Brussels. He previously served inter alia as minister counsellor and deputy chief of mission of the EU Delegation in the United States (2011–2015). He also was the permanent representative of France to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva (2003–2006). 

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