State Secretary Martina Hirayama participates in the European Space Summit in Seville

Bern, 07.11.2023 - The European Space Summit took place in Seville on 6 and 7 November 2023, bringing together the space ministers from the European Space Agency (ESA) and EU member states. Martina Hirayama, State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation, reaffirmed Switzerland’s commitment to being a reliable partner in Europe’s ambitions concerning the environment, sustainable development, access to space and space exploration.

The space ministers of the ESA and EU member states met in Seville under the auspices of the German Presidency of the ESA Council at Ministerial Level and the Spanish Presidency of the EU Council. State Secretary Hirayama participated in the ESA Council Meeting and in the joint informal meeting of both Councils. The ministers supported raising Europe's space ambitions, i.e. to fully exploit the potential of space for a future that is green, sustainable and secure, to improve Europe's access to space, and to begin a new chapter in European space exploration.

The resolution adopted by ministers from ESA's member states places ESA at the heart of Europe's space ambitions, to promote the optimal use of data in efforts addressing climate change and sustainability, the protection of space infrastructure and the response to crises. The ESA Council also defined framework conditions for Ariane 6 and Vega operations, and a new vision for Europe's future access to space. This vision strengthens competition while continuing to build on ESA's expertise and programmes. As part of the renewed space exploration strategy, ESA has paved the way for a competitive approach to develop a cargo transportation service to and from low Earth orbit for the International Space Station ISS and future commercial stations. Finally, the ministers underlined the importance of collective action to advance the space agenda.

The joint ESA-EU declaration reiterated the crucial role of space in advancing the green transition and effective action on climate change, and the importance of preserving the benefits of space activities for future generations through sustainable activities.

State Secretary Martina Hirayama has supported the European space ambitions, which are in line with the Swiss Space Policy 2023. She stated that Switzerland will continue to contribute as a reliable partner in all these areas. She underlined the importance of collective and inclusive action to enable ESA to pursue on its ambitious path: being in a position to fully exploit the potential of space will serve the interests of Europe and its citizens. ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher provided the basis for the ESA Council's decision with his proposal to raise Europe's ambitions and then presented ESA's positions to the EU. The Summit reinforces the commitments made at the ESA Council at Ministerial Level in November 2022.

At this occasion, Martina Hirayama also held discussions with her UK and Norwegian counterparts.

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State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation