Political Charter

CHARTER ON THE CREATION AND THE IMPLEMENTATION OF NEREUS,
THE NETWORK OF EUROPEAN REGIONS USING SPACE TECHNOLOGIES

PREAMBLE

Space Technologies play a key role in Europe in supporting the enlarged Union to achieve its main objectives to: increase economic growth, industrial competitiveness and job creation, enhance scientific research and innovation, and promote greater social economic cohesion and sustainable development.

We are now entering a new era of space technologies, where one aim is to develop and improve operational systems. The increase of European capabilities in telecommunications, earth observation and satellite navigation, timing and positioning will boost applications, opening new markets that will be very significant on the world trade scene, with large economic and social benefits.

The European Commission’s White Paper on Space - A New European Frontier for an Expanding Union - (2003) called for an extended space policy orientated to users’needs, able to put space technologies and entrepreneurial skills at the service of the enlarged Union and of its citizens. Both, GMES Conferences in Graz on April 2006 and in Munich on April 2007 have highlighted the importance of the creation of a European network at the regional level on space technologies. On 26 April 2007, the European Commission issued its first European Space Policy (COM (2007) 212 final), which was welcomed by the Space and Competitiveness Council on 22 May 2007 in Brussels, affirming that “Space is a lead market in which public authorities can create conditions for industry-led innovation”. Furthermore, the June 2007 European Council mandate to draft a Reform Treaty confirms the explicit inclusion of an article on European space policy.

Regional Authorities
can give a significant contribution to space policy, in the creation of new services for the benefit of citizens and exploiting new emerging markets, in particular for their capability to ensure an active participation of the different economic and social actors within their territory.

The European Regions
are heavily involved at both ends of the space chain, from infrastructure to applications:
The regions manage the territory, having responsibility for environmental and security issues, developing plans and providing a number of services to citizens: in all these activities, much use of satellite data is made.
The regions contribute significantly to the creation and support of clusters and competitiveness zones that bring together manufacturers (also SMEs), higher education institutes and scientific research. They play a major role in the processes of innovation and technology transfer.
The regions host the installation, development and maintenance of space infrastructure concerning launchers, satellite integration, equipment and software and, in general, “ground segment” infrastructure.

The representatives of the European Regions adopt this resolution on the founding principles and aims of the Association of European Regions, named NEREUS – Network of European REgions Using Space technologies.

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1 - SCOPE OF COOPERATION

- To introduce the regional level into the elaboration and development of European space programmes and activities linked to infrastructure and applications.
- To promote and implement partnerships, to foster trans-national and crossborder cooperative schemes between European regions, in order to develop common or complementary assets and approaches, including preparation of recommendations for common projects and initiatives.
-To fulfil and sustain end-users’ needs from the space services provided by European Union programmes.
- To ensure that space services are used across all European regions so as to ensure a balanced development of the European Union and allow full exploitation of its space technologies potential.
- To support a better promotion of the European space dimension in the globalised economy.
- To increase citizens’ participation in European policy construction and in development of space services markets.

In operational terms, NEREUS will fully support the strategies set out by the European Union.

2 – FIRST FIELDS OF COOPERATION

- GMES: The GMES services are closely linked with the daily life of citizens, providing immediately usable terrestrial, oceanographic and atmospheric data for environmental protection and security of citizens. Moreover, it will give an important contribution to the understanding of climate change. End users operating at the regional level can take advantage of GMES core services, and will contribute to developing downstream services. The regional dimension is essential to the definition and use of GMES services.

- GALILEO/GNSS: Many sectors managed by regional administrations are affected by the development of satellite navigation, for example: transport and communication, land survey, agriculture, fisheries and waterways, tourism, waste disposal and the field of logistics. Navigation systems also provide instruments for civil protection, emergency management and humanitarian aid.

- Acquisition of Knowledge, Education, Training and Communication with the public: the need to develop new applications and technologies for present and future space programmes requires improvement of the current knowledge base. Research centres and universities in Europe are able to meet this challenge, supporting industry activities in a competitive world. Regional administrations can provide strong support and shall involve the education process at all levels. Novel methods of communication need to be developed in order to inform the wider general public of space technologies.

- Telecommunications: This area presents a large number of job opportunities. Distance learning, remote medicine, remote health and remote administration are key fields of application for the future in every region. Information and telecommunication technologies play a key role in improving the quality of services delivered at the regional level.

The open list proposed is a first step towards the implementation of the network. The list is non-exhaustive and will be amended if new domains or priorities emerge in the future.

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TOWARD THESE AIMS, REGIONAL AUTHORITIES AGREE AND COMMIT THEMSELVES:
To found an association of European regions, named NEREUS, the “Network of European REgions Using Space Technologies”, in order to implement the principles stated above and the following issues:

1) NEREUS will operate on two levels:

- a political level: to define and carry out political initiatives through regular meetings between representative bodies of the regions and representatives of Community institutions, national governments and Space Agencies.
- an operational level: to organise exchanges of experience and construction of partnerships between member regions, providing circulation of documents, organisation of an annual conference, workshops and meetings in order to bring together regional, national and European experts and representatives, and pursue joint activities.

2) To these ends, NEREUS will establish its permanent secretariat in Brussels.

3) The governance of the Association will be on the hands of the Regional Authority members of NEREUS. The Association, through its activities, will promote regional opportunities for space technology development or use. Member regions also commit to promote in their own territory the opportunities of space technologies development or use, together with everybody involved in space technologies at the regional level. Any stakeholder, within member regions, such as manufacturers, education institutes, public and private research laboratories, public services providers and other concerned local institutions, will be invited to take part of the various activities of the Association.

4) NEREUS will collaborate actively with the EU institutions, the Member States, ESA and the National Space Agencies and will enjoy close relations with the European Inter-Parliamentary Space Conference (EISC).

5) The NEREUS Statutes will be finalised with the consensus of regional representatives and the formal adhesion of regions to the Association will follow in accordance with the rules of the specific region.

6) It is the will and an engagement of the subscribers to enlarge the present network, involving in NEREUS regions from across the European Union.