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  • ​​​​​Inter-institutional knowledge sharing and information exchange aims at reducing bottlenecks and improving access to finance for European space companies

The European Commission, the European Investment Bank (EIB), and the European Space Agency (ESA) signed today at the Space Conference a collaboration arrangement to join forces to strengthen the European space sector. This will include small and medium businesses (SMEs) and start-ups and enhance Europe's position in space.

The collaboration between the three institutions aims to foster cooperation and coordination with a focus on providing financing and advisory support for European space companies. Through this collaboration, the institutions seek to improve access to finance, encourage innovation and knowledge sharing, and stimulate the development of cutting-edge space technologies. By leveraging their collective expertise, resources and networks, the three institutions aim to propel Europe's space sector to new frontiers, driving innovation, economic growth and strategic autonomy in space.

Director-General of DG-DEFIS at the European Commission Timo Pesonen stated: “Access to finance is crucial for companies, whatever their stage of development. With our CASSINI Space Entrepreneurship initiative, the Commission already provides a big boost to our New Space ecosystem by facilitating access to finance to space start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs. Yet, access to debt funding remains challenging. Today we are joining forces with the EIB and ESA to try to fix the issue. Europe is now the hub for space entrepreneurship. We need to preserve this and continue supporting our industrial ecosystem to grow, innovate and capture new markets globally.”

European Investment Bank Vice-President Kris Peeters said: “As the financial investment arm of the European Union, the EIB is committed to supporting projects aligned with EU policy objectives. We are thrilled to collaborate with the European Commission and ESA to provide strategic financing solutions and advisory services aimed at empowering European space companies and enabling them to thrive in a highly competitive global landscape.”

ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher emphasised the potential of the partnership, stating: “Today's agreement marks a milestone in European space collaboration. The convergence of ESA's technical and scientific expertise with the financial acumen and backing of the EIB and the policy support of the European Commission creates a formidable alliance. This partnership is more than just a commitment to collaboration; it is a testament to our shared vision. Together, we are paving the way for groundbreaking advancements and ensuring that European space companies are at the cutting edge of innovation and competitiveness.”

This collaboration will play a pivotal role in identifying bottlenecks and streamlining access to finance and advisory services, to ensure that European space companies will have the necessary resources to bring their groundbreaking ideas to fruition.

Background information

The EIB Group works closely with public and private-sector partners to support sustainable investment, job creation, economic growth and innovation across Europe.

The European Space Agency (ESA) provides Europe’s gateway to space. ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world. ESA has 22 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia are Associate Members. By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, ESA can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country. It is working in particular with the European Union on implementing the Galileo and Copernicus programmes as well as with EUMETSAT for the development of meteorological missions.

The Directorate-General for Defence Industry and Space (DEFIS) leads the European Commission's activities in the defence Industry and Space sector. In the area of Defence Industry, DEFIS is in charge of upholding the competitiveness and innovation of the European Defence industry by ensuring the evolution of an able European defence technological and industrial base. DG DEFIS implements the European Defence Fund (EDF), the Act in Support of Ammunition Production (ASAP), the European defence industry reinforcement through common procurement Act (EDIRPA). In the area of Space DG DEFIS is in charge of implementing the EU Space programme consisting of the European Earth Observation Programme (Copernicus), the European Global Navigation Satellite System (Galileo), the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS), the Space Situational Awareness (SSA) and Govsatcom. DG DEFIS is also managing the EU secure connectivity programme (IRIS²).