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Norwegian Minister participates at the 11th ESA-EU Space Council

Norway’s new Minister of Trade and Industry, Cecilie Myrseth (Labour), is heading the Norwegian delegation.

Written by
Berit Ellingsen
May 22, 2024
EU Competitiveness Council.
EU Competitiveness Council.Credit: European Union

The Ministers in charge of space activities in the member states of the European Space Agency (ESA) are meeting with the Ministers responsible for the internal market, industry and research in the European Union’s Competitiveness Council in Brussels on the 22nd-23rd of May 2024. 

The 11th ESA-EU Space Council is initiated by the Belgian presidency of the Council of the European Union, and the ministers are discussing a Resolution on Strengthening Europe’s Competitiveness through Space. The resolution has been prepared jointly by the two organizations. 

This is the first international meeting of the new Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry, Cecilie Myrseth (Labour). She is accompanied by Christian Hauglie-Hanssen, Director General of the Norwegian Space Agency.

Minister for Trade and Industry Cecilie Myrseth.

Minister of Trade and Industry, Cecilie Myrseth.

Credit: Stortinget.

The Resolution on Strengthening Europe’s Competitiveness has three main themes:

One is how the space sector can contribute to the general European competitiveness. The resolution highlights that space plays an unprecedented role in determining Europe’s prosperity, competitiveness, safety, security, and autonomous decision-making.  And that the space sector contributes to the overall European economic growth and prosperity, with a large innovative and commercial potential.

Another theme is how to boost the competitiveness of the European space sector. A stable and predictable space business environment can encourage more private investment, while investing in space research and the development of space technology will have positive spill-over effects on the wider European economy.

A third theme is how the space sector adds to European global action and autonomy. The European space sector enhances the position of the European economy on the global stage and forms a backbone of European strategic autonomy. Norway has stressed the importance of pursuing an open strategic autonomy in this regard.

Balancing cooperation and competition           

At the meeting, each member state of ESA and the EU will have the opportunity to speak concerning the resolution to be adopted.

Here, Norway will emphasize the necessity for Europe to find a good balance between cooperation and competition. Space has been an important factor of international cooperation in Europe as well as globally. 

Norway regards that it’s paramount to realize and utilize the potential of a more innovative space sector, by balancing cooperation with competition in a fruitful manner.

For example, Andøya Spaceport, Norway’s new launch base for small satellites, is an important contribution to a more innovative and diverse ecosystem for launchers in Europe, contributing to securing Europe’s access to space alongside the heritage of European launchers.

Norway also considers that the need for a European strategic autonomy must be balanced with international partnerships and collaboration. Norway wishes to be a fully integrated and trustworthy partner in European and international space cooperation, also in the future. 

Norway as a contributing partner

This integration includes full participation in and access to elements of the EU Space Programme, such as Iris2, Space Surveillance and Tracking, the Earth Observation Governmental Service, and autonomous access to space.

Norway’s contributions to this cooperation include space infrastructure in geographically important locations, such as the launch base at Andøya in Northern Norway and the satellite downlink stations at Svalbard in the Arctic and the Troll research base in Antarctica. 

The Arctic Satellite Broadband Mission will provide high-speed broadband to the Arctic. This mission will be launched in July 2024, and will become an important space infrastructure for partners both in Europe and the US.

Christian Hauglie-Hanssen, Director General at the Norwegian Space Agency.

Christian Hauglie-Hanssen, Director General of the Norwegian Space Agency

Photo: NOSA

- We are very pleased that the Minister for Trade and Industry has chosen to participate in the ESA-EU Space Council so soon after taking the post. This meeting will be an excellent opportunity to introduce the Minister to key people and the main themes of the European space sector. I’m looking forward to assisting the Minister at the council, said Christian Hauglie-Hanssen, Director General of the Norwegian Space Agency. 

For more information, please contact

Per Høyland – Senior Advisor, Strategic Analysis – Norwegian Space Agency -