Handbook of Space Law
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Handbook of Space Law

  • Research Handbooks in International Law series

Edited by Frans von der Dunk

Handbook of Space Law addresses the legal and regulatory aspects of activities in outer space and major space applications from a comprehensive and structured perspective. The book fundamentally addresses the dichotomy between the state-oriented character of international space law and the increasing commercialization and privatization of space activities.
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Chapter 4: European space law

Frans von der Dunk

Abstract

In view of the manifold efforts at European institutionalized cooperation and integration, including in the context of space, this continent has a special place, and increasingly other regions in the world are considering the establishment of international organizations to serve as similar platforms for cooperation of sovereign states in outer space and space activities. This special place is mainly reflected in two, originally separate, developments. On the one hand, there is the key role of the European Space Agency (ESA) as the scientific, technical and operational organization pooling resources and integrating space programmes of member states. On the other hand, there is the more recent role of the European Union in regulating certain areas of the space sector – notably satellite communications – and driving the establishment of such European flagship programmes as Galileo and Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES), now redubbed Copernicus. More recently, the ESA and the European Union have gradually been converging in terms of directing European space policy, which results in a number of new legal issues related to their proper alignment, cooperation and perhaps even integration. Especially the respective industrial and procurement policies are principally at variance with each other, where the different focus but largely – though not completely – identical membership, as well as the constant tug-of-war within the European Union between European jurisdiction and competences and national jurisdiction and competences present additional legal problems of an inter-organizational nature.

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