A Gallian heritage passed from the national framework to the continental framework, European strategic autonomy is a very French hobbyhorse to which our European partners sometimes find it difficult to adhere, often for fear of weakening the American “umbrella”. Taking advantage of its dual presidency, of the Union, and of the European Space Agency (ESA), France has therefore decided to advance the file in its space component. The success was unexpected: the subject was unanimously approved by the 30 European ministers – the 27 from the Union and the 3 from ESA who are not part of it -, who met on February 16 in Toulouse.
First of all, Europe will have a “sovereign” constellation for high-speed connections. It will not be a question of competing with the Starlink constellation being deployed by Elon Musk or his counterpart Kuiper in preparation at Amazon, nor even the Indo-British constellation OneWeb, made possible by Airbus and Arianespace, but to free oneself from it.
Indeed, the Covid pandemic, natural disasters, and a few cyberattacks have made it possible to measure the dependence of our society and our economy on connectivity. This will intensify in the future. The digital divide must be reduced and the “white zones” erased, so that all European citizens have access to all services, all the time, and even when the terrestrial infrastructure is under attack. The satellite is the key.