- 19 Oct 2013 1:00 AM
The starting point of the strategy is Hungary’s accession to the European Space Agency (ESA), Károly Balázs Solymár pointed out in his welcome address. It was this year that the Government had initiated starting accession talks, the Deputy State Secretary recalled. The Council of ESA is likely to decide on the issue next week, so the first round of accession talks could start this year already, he added.
At the international technical conference held at Uránia Observatory, representatives of the European Space Agency as well as experts of the Czech, Polish, Romanian, Slovakian and Estonian space industries exchange experience of ESA membership with representatives of the Hungarian professional audience.
Hungary became a European Cooperating State (ECS) of the European Space Agency in 2003. This status was designed by ESA for countries before accession. Within the framework of the programme planned for five years, Hungarian institutions, small and medium enterprises were given opportunity to participate in certain European space projects. Hungary’s level of preparedness is well illustrated by the fact that the country was the first European Cooperating State of ESA. In 2007, the then Hungarian government decided to apply, upon the expiration of the agreement, for its prolongation for another 5 years, instead of full-fledged ESA membership. In the meantime, from the countries of the region, the Czech Republic, Romania and later Poland became full-fledged member state. The status of Cooperating State grants limited participation in the programmes of ESA and the advantages involved are far behind those of full-fledged members. Considering the latter, the Government initiated, at the proposal of the Minister of National Development, starting accession talks in 2013.
Accession will involve further cooperation opportunities for Hungarian enterprises with the major European space technology companies. From the moment of accession, all industrial tenders of ESA will be open to Hungarian companies, beyond which wider opportunities will be created for participation in various educational projects: ESA is to provide grants and continuing training opportunities to Hungarian experts.