MUNICH, Germany Three German industry associations - Bitkom, BDI and TelematicsPro - have called the German government to press ahead the Galileo navigation satellite within the present German EU council presidency. The industry groups are worrying that the launch of the Galileo system could be delayed further.
"There are many indications that the launch, scheduled for 2011, will be postponed until 2014," the industry associations write in a joint press release. Unless the EU council president who presently is the German chancellor Angela Merkel would take measures to advance the project, potential investors will be alienated and job creation will remain undone, the associations claim.
In the same press release, they criticize that "some member countries, driven by specific partial interests, repeatedly slow down the project." Jörg Menno Harms, vice president of the influential Bitkom IT industry association, said that "the interests of single countries must not obstruct this excellence project of the European economy."
Upon request by EE Times Europe, Bitkom however refused to comment. "It is the raison d'etre of an industry association to express its member's view without singling out any person or enterprise", said a Bitkom spokesperson.
A week ago, German federal minister for transportation, Wolfgang Tiefensee, had criticized the eight Galileo consortium members for delays in forming a joint venture for the satellite operation and the failure to appoint a leader.
On the development and production side, the project is handled by European Satellite Navigation Industries, a consortium of French Alcatel Alenia Space SAS, its Italian counterpart Alcatel Alenia Space SpA, German EADS Astrium GmbH, British EADS Astrium Ltd, French company Thales and Spanish group Galileo Sistemas y Servicios, itself being a consortium of seven companies.
On the operational level however, it is planned to form a separate company which presently bears the working name 'Galileo Operation Company'. This entity also is planned to be a joint venture of eight companies: Alcatel, EADS and Thales from France, EADS and TeleOP GmbH from Germany, Finmeccanica from Italy, Inmarsat from the UK and Aena and Hispasat from Spain. This consortium, however, did fail so far to register a joint venture and to appoint a CEO.