The Council and the European Parliament today reached provisional agreement on a regulation establishing the EU program for secure connectivity for the period 2023-2027.
Secure and reliable communications is a cornerstone of the EU’s strategic autonomy. The Secure Connectivity program will build a multi-orbital constellation of hundreds of satellites that will meet the EU’s needs for secure communications services and reinforce our position as a major player in space. More importantly, it will bring many benefits to citizens and their daily lives.
Martin Kupka, Czech Transport Minister
Provision of secure communications services to Member States
The program sets targets for the European Union to deploy an EU satellite constellation called “IRIS”.2’ (Infrastructure for Resilience, Interconnectivity and Security via Satellite) that will make it possible secure communication services until 2027.
Cyber attacks and natural disasters can lead to the collapse of terrestrial communication networks. The establishment of this constellation will ensure better interconnected critical infrastructure and independent, high-speed and resilient satellite communications services.
The program offers government services includes critical infrastructure protection, situational awareness and support for external action and crisis management. All these services will improve the resilience of the EU.
Facilitating broadband access for all users
The program is not only aimed at government agencies and EU institutions, but also enables the provision of commercial services by the private sectorthereby contributing to the competitiveness of European industry.
The program is linked to the Commission’s proposal for the EU Global Gateway Strategy. It will enable the delivery of affordable internet access anywhere in Europe and provide secure connectivity in geographic areas of strategic interest such as the Arctic and Africa.
Strategic autonomy of the EU
The program is particularly important with regard to low earth orbits increasingly occupied by third-country mega-constellations, with EU operators facing challenges due to the capital-intensive nature of such projects. The Secure Connectivity Program is therefore important to strengthen the EU’s resilience and its strategic autonomy in space and on the ground.
The initiative will benefit from the know-how of the European industrial space industry, both from the established industrial players and from the new room ecosystem. The program builds on the GOVSATCOM component of the EU space programme. In doing so, synergies with the other components of the EU space program are taken into account, e.g Galileo (satellite navigation) and Copernicus (Earth observation) systems, as well as spatial situational awareness Capacities.
The Commission will own tangible and intangible assets related to government infrastructure developed under this programme. The Secure Connectivity Program is funded by the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027. The program provides a total of €2.4 billion, part of which will come from programs such as the EU Space Programme, Horizon Europe and the Neighborhood Development and International Cooperation Instrument – Global Europe (NDICI). The program is carried out in cooperation with the European Space Agency and the European space industry.
The infrastructure will be procured by the Commission as part of a public-private partnership through competitive contracts to industry. Selected contractors will design, validate, build and deploy the EU’s own government infrastructure to provide enhanced government services. In addition, the commercial infrastructure would also be used to provide government services as well as commercial services.
Today’s provisional agreement requires the approval of the Council and the European Parliament.
On the Council side, the preliminary political agreement has to be approved by the representatives of the Member States (in Coreper) before going through the formal steps of the adoption process.