HC Deb 17 November 1969 vol 791 cc203-4W
Mr. Rhodes

asked the Minister of Technology what is the policy of the Government with regard to Recommendation No. 572 on European space policy, which was adopted by the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe on 3rd October 1969; and whether they will instruct their representatives on the European Space Conference and in the Committee of Senior Officials to comply with the proposals contained in paragraph 12 of this recommendation.

Mr. Benn

The Government have taken note of paragraph 12(i) of the Recommendation referred to and have already declared their willingness to take part in the inter-governmental discussions envisaged at the Conference of European Space Ministers held at Bad Godesberg last year. A meeting of the European Conference on Satellite Telecommunications (C.E.T.S.) took place at the end of October to consider the European posture at the Intelsat negotiations and a large measure of agreement was arrived at. The European telecommunications satellite programme referred to requires some further study before consideration at an inter-governmental conference and this is being undertaken under the auspices of the Committee of Senior Officials.

The remaining subsections of paragraph 12 of the Recommendation have not yet been considered by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe nor have the Government's views yet been sought. However, the Government's attitude on the matters raised in these subsections is as follows:

Recommendation (ii) The Government expressed support of a single European Space Organisation at the Bad Godesberg Conference, and the United Kingdom is participating fully to this end in the work of the Committee of Senior Officials.

Recommendation (iii) The United Kingdom is taking part in the consideration, by the Committee of Senior Officials, of a common European space programme, and is fully mindful of the need for a balanced industrial policy. The Government's view, of the development of the EUROPA launcher has not changed.

Recommendation (iv) Voting arrangements are one of the main issues under consideration in the Preparatory Committee of the Conference on Definitive Arrangements for Intelsat. It is the view of Her Majesty's Government, and this view is widely shared both by European and other participating Governments, that in the Intelsat Assembly, which will exercise general oversight of the organisation's activities, voting should be on the basis of one nation one vote. The commercial policy of the organisation should be determined by the board of governors, whose voting rights would be related to investment shares.

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