Brexit could see UK excluded from critical future cyber, U-Space and Galileo sat-nav programmes

Britain could be left out of Brussels’ vision of a vibrant U-Space that will support an emerging European drone industry, according to a report in the Financial Times newspaper.

The newspaper reports that the nation could be left to go it alone in the areas of cyber security and drone technology as the EU’s attempts to develop “strategic autonomy” in these areas.

Details of the strict restrictions likely to be placed on the European Defence Fund are due to be unveiled by the European Commission on Wednesday, which could mean that in a post-Brexit environment, non-EU expertise will be sought on an exceptional basis when it “is necessary for achieving the objectives” of the project.

Even so, significant conditions on such collaboration, including restrictions on technology transfer, the need for the company to be EU-based and its relevant staff security cleared by an EU member state may be applied.

The issue echoes moves this week to proceed with further Galileo procurement even though no deal has been agreed between the UK and the 27 EU member states to allow its continued participation.

Science minister Sam Gyimah said the vote at an ESA Council meeting to proceed with procurement put at risk Britain’s future security relationship with the EU.

“The simple fact is that without full, fair and open industrial involvement, Galileo doesn’t offer the UK value for money or meet our defence needs, so we would be obliged to walk away, resulting in delays and additional costs to the programme that will run into the billions,” he said.

Although the UK said it is wanting the EU to examine alternative options allowing it to participate in the Galileo programme, ministers have spoken of the possibility of the UK building its own GNSS system, which could cost between £3-5 billion.

The European Commission has said Brexit means the UK will be excluded from a key Galileo element next year, namely, the Public Regulated Service, or PRS – a navigation and timing signal intended for use by government agencies, armed forces and emergency services.

Read Brussels mulls U-Space drone ecosystem

 

 

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