Some time ago the European Union (EU) decided it was not content with the various countries in the EU freely utilising the US GPS satellites system and commenced the Galileo project to build a 30 satellite Global Navigation System (GNS) of its own. The public reason given for this huge planned expenditure is that a new, more accurate European GNS is needed, as the current US GPS is only accurate to 10 meters and the Galileo GNS will be accurate to one meter. Nevertheless, the decision to build the Galileo system is, as usual, political more than anything else and probably owes more to the predictable anti-American stance of France, than sound commercial common sense - 10 meters accuracy is sufficient precision for most current and future applications. In particular, the French have never liked the fact that the US GPS system is owned and operated by the US military and have managed to convince the other members of the EU to build a system that is complementary to the US GPS, but is controlled and owned by the EU.
Not content with spending around EU1 billion of European taxpayers money on the unnecessary Galileo programme, the profligate EU Commission has now decided to also spend upwards of EU1.5 billion on a programme to build a network of spy satellites. The EU system is known as initially as the ‘Global Monitoring for Environment and Security’ (GMES), and then later re-named Kopernikus, it is planned to be operational by 2010. The corrupt-ridden EU Commission have stated that Kopernikus will play a key role in the ‘implementation, review and monitoring of EU policies, including watching for agriculture and fisheries fraud and for boosting internal security’. Of course a reconnaissance satellite programme will also support the French objective of the EU becoming a significant military power, whilst at the same time undermining NATO, as it will provide the European authorities with the further enhancements to a European Security and Defence Policy.
The European Space Agency (ESA) will manage the Kopernikus reconnaissance satellites on behalf on the 15 EU States, whilst the EU Commission will identify and develop possible uses of the system. However, with so much commercial satellite imagery already freely available to the EU, in particular the French SPOT 5 satellite that offers 2.5 meter resolution, I really don’t see the need for Kopernikus at all. The idea that the EU Commission will use GMES to watch for agriculture and fisheries fraud is complete joke, particularly when the one of the last EU Commissioner with responsibility for tackling the rampant fraud and corruption within the EU, a useless Welsh windbag named Neil Kinnock, actually sacked two EU whistleblowers who uncovered clear evidence of fraud and corruption – so what chance a satellite will do any better? The whole Kopernikus programme is yet another example of the EU Commission, probably at the behest of the French, pouring money into a programme that has at it’s core a desire to extract the EU from its reliance on NATO as its primary defence organisation and replace it with a hotch-potch European Union alliance, doiminated, of course, by the French.