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Spain accuses Germany and Italy of blocking Galileo role : press

by Staff Writers
Madrid (AFP) Nov 26, 2007
Spain has accused Germany and Italy of seeking to prevent Madrid from playing a leading role in the Galileo satellite-navigation project, a Spanish newspaper said Monday.

"There is political obstruction by Germany and Italy to Spain playing a prominent role" in Galileo, according to a document by the ministry of public works seen by the El Mundo newspaper.

"This political obstruction is done with the connivance of the European Commission and the European Space Agency, which aim to bring the project to a conclusion and are ready to not respect the rules in order not to offend these two countries," it said.

The document is dated several months ago, but El Mundo quoted sources close to the issue as saying it remains valid.

The ministry of public works was not immediately available to comment on the report.

The EU's Transport Commission is to meet in Brussels on Thursday to try and iron out differences over the Galileo project, meant to rival the US Global Positioning System (GPS) and as a showcase for Europe's technical prowess.

Work on Galileo has stalled as cost over-runs piled up, private contractors bickered and member nations pushed their own industrial interests.

It was originally slated to launch in 2008 but is now set to be deployed in 2013.

Several countries are seeking to station ground control centres on their territory, according to El Mundo.

The ministry of public works charged that the European Space Agency had decided in September to rule on awarding the stations "directly, without respect to competition procedures."

Spain has had a 10 percent stake in the Galileo project since 2003, but Germany and Italy, led by the TeleOp et Finmeccanica companies, want to limit Madrid's participation, El Mundo said.

It said protests by Spain on the issue had gone unheeded.

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German groups ensured role in Galileo sat-nav system: report
Frankfurt (AFP) Nov 23, 2007
Germany has obtained European Commission guarantees regarding participation by German groups in the satellite navigation system Galileo, a press report said Friday.

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