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In today's Morning Brief:

Launch of new EU Space Agency

Yesterday marked the launch of the new EU Agency for the Space Programme. The agency’s mission is to be the user-oriented operational Agency of the EU Space Programme; its goal is to provide safe and performant EU space services, enable synergies, innovation, sustainability, and security, by linking Copernicus, GNSS, and GOVSATCOM to EU citizens. The new agency is a result of the new EU Space Regulation and stems from the growing role of space in supporting EU priorities in terms of growth, competitiveness, sustainability, and security, ehivh brought to the decision to expand the scope of the former European GNSS Agency (GSA) to include new responsibilities. EUSPA builds on the proven track record of the GSA, and, by taking on responsibility for various new Space Programme components, it leverages the GSA’s technical expertise, market intelligence, security know-how, and the extensive EU space-based community that it has built, to create synergies that will take EU space services and applications to a new level both in Europe and around the world. For more information about EUSPA, check their website here.


Regulation for Space programmes published

The official regulation establishing the Union Space Programme and the European Union Agency for the Space Programme has just been published. The Italian EU Parliamentary Massimiliano Salini emphasised in a tweet today it’s role in promoting EU’s strategic autonomy.


EC evaluation of deep-sea fishing ban

The 2016 Deep-sea Access Regulation introduced unprecedented conservation and management measures to protect deep-sea species and their habitats, called vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs). In line with the Biodiversity Strategy 2030, it limits the use of fishing gear most harmful to biodiversity, including on the seabed. The evaluation carried by the European Commission shows that thanks to the ban on bottom trawling below 800 meters, fish such as grenadier, orange roughy and black scabbardfish became less accessible to trawlers and, as a result, their catches decreased; it also shows a drop in bycatches of deep-sea sharks. The regulation, however, has not yet been fully implemented. In fact, the protection of VMEs has seen little progress since 2016 due to important data gaps leading to delays in scientific advice, finally issued on 5 January 2021. The newly-published evaluation underlines the need to adopt the implementing act to set the limits for deep-sea fishing in EU waters and to close VME areas to all bottom gears below 400 meter.


Commission launches EURATOM research programme

The new Euratom programme, the EU‘s nuclear research and training programme, entered into force yesterday with a budget of €1.38 billion (in current prices) for the next five years. This means there is a reduction from the €1,6B budget of the previous programme. A Science Business analysis indicates that the same instruments and rule of participation as the research programme Horizon Europe will be used and that Euratom will invest €583 million in fusion R&D and €266 million in nuclear fission, safety and radiation protection, while the rest of the money will fund nuclear research-related activities of the Joint Research Centre, the European Commission‘s science hub.


European Parliament adopted ERASMUS+ programme regulation

According to Science Business, the European Parliament’s culture and education committee (CULT) adopted o 10 May the regulation of the EU’s new €26 billion education programme Erasmus+, ahead of the Parliament’s final vote on the programme next week. The negotiations on the details of the programme were finalised in December. The final agreement promises to benefit 12 million people in Europe, three times more than its predecessors and ensure quicker access for those coming from disadvantage backgrounds, such as participants with disabilities, those coming from remote locations and migrants. The Commission launched the programme in March ahead of its legal approval, and the first calls are now open. Once the programme is fully adopted following next week’s vote, the money can start flowing to finance selected projects around Europe.

European Council meeting on Education, Youth and Sport

The indicative programme of the EU Council on Education, Youth and Sport, whose responsibility falls under the same Commissioner as Research and Innovation, is taking place on the 17 and 18 May with live streaming available for all sessions and a Q&A session for journalists. All links for the live streaming and full agenda are available here. The meeting will count with the participation of PT ministers for Science (Manuel Heitor), Education (Tiago Brandão Rodrigues) and Culture (Graça Fonseca).


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