ESA Ministerial Summit approved the ‘Matosinhos Manifesto’

22 November 2021

The IMM was held in Matosinhos, where a new document was unanimously approved to accelerate the use of Space for Europe and European citizens.

CEiiA, in Matosinhos, hosted on November 19, the Intermediate Ministerial Meeting (IMM), which brought together the Ministers responsible for the space of the various ESA member states. They unanimously approved the “Matosinhos Manifesto”.

This is a document that aims to accelerate the use of space in order to create solutions to respond to the social, economic and security challenges Europe (and its citizens) is facing.

The Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Manuel Heitor, who chaired the Ministerial Meeting, stated that these issues must be faced and assumed by all European countries: “the large scale of nature and the accelerated pace of the climate and other crises challenges mean that no European nation will be able to tackle them effectively alone. Space has enormous untapped potential to help meet these challenges and accelerating the development of European space capacity is now urgently needed.”

For ESA’s General Director, Josef Aschbacher, “this Meeting recognized the need for a renewed European ambition in space, by unanimously subscribing to the three accelerators and two inspiring ones that will put Europe at the forefront of the full use of space by its citizens, creating economic opportunities”

The three “accelerators” identified from the objectives defined by Europe for the space sector are:

  • “Space for a Green Future” which aims to help European citizens create scenarios and solutions for a sustainable life on Earth through a “digital twin” of the planet, developed by ESA;
  • “Quick and Resilient Response to the Crisis”, which provides support to European countries in responding to disasters and natural phenomena, from floods to forest fires, without prejudice to the sovereign powers of the Member States and the European Union;
  • “Space Asset Protection” aims to safeguard European assets from space debris and space weather interference.

The Ministers also identified two “inspiring” objectives with a view to strengthening European leadership in scientific and technological terms: a mission to retrieve samples of icy moons and human space exploration.

The “Accelerators” and “Inspirers” are the result of the work carried out in recent months based on recommendations made by a High Level Advisory Group to ESA Director General Josef Aschbarcher and which are contained in the “Final Report on the Acceleration of the Use of Space in Europe” which is part of the “Agenda 2025” of the European Space Agency.

IMM was an important step on the way to the European Space Summit, scheduled for February 2022, in Toulouse, France, ahead of the next ESA Council Meeting at Ministerial level.

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