EU Says It Has Money to Salvage Galileo

In a follow-up to our previous story, Europe's proposed multibillion-dollar Galileo satellite navigation project could be salvaged with the help of unspent EU funds and without additional taxpayer money, the European Commission said today. The EU executive said it could shift money within the bloc's 2007-2013 budget to come up with the 2.4 billion euros ($3.3 billion) needed to bail out Galileo. According to EU Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot, 2.2 billion euros ($3 billion) could be transferred from an unspent agriculture budget; 220 million euros ($305 million) could be provided from money earmarked for administration; and 300 million euros ($416 million) from the research budget. Private companies could then finance maintenance and operation of the system.

It is now up to EU member states to decide whether to accept the Commission proposal and carry on with the project, which is not expected to be up and running before 2013. EU transport ministers will debate the issue again in October.

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