ESA and European Investment Bank launch Space for Mediterranean Countries Initiative

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The two faces of finance for the Mediterranean Countries

10 September 2012
PR 26 2012 – ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain and EIB Vice President Philippe de Fontaine Vive Curtaz today signed the Space for Mediterranean Countries Initiative agreement.

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The two organisations will work together towards satellite-based services bridging the digital divide and aiming at bringing economic growth to the Mediterranean region.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) assists the economic and social development of partner countries in the South and East Mediterranean. It has invested €13 billion through its operations in this region since 2002, supported 2300 small- and medium-sized enterprises, which created 30 000 jobs, and mobilised about €35 billion of additional capital together with international financing institutions, bilateral agencies and the private sector in order to advance the development of the region.

The EIB has also granted more than €102 million for technical assistance operations to build knowledge and capacity.

In particular, the current initiative received the support of the FEMIP (Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership) Trust Fund, originally established in 2004, whose main objective is to support private sector development in the Mediterranean partner countries.

On ESA’s side, the Integrated Applications Promotion (IAP) programme aims to provide new, sustainable services in close partnership with end users, through the development of applications that rely on a combination of existing space and terrestrial systems.

IAP has created a network of Ambassador Platforms who promote space applications to a broad range of user communities that are often not aware of the benefits that space technologies can bring to them.

For instance, there are Ambassador Platforms for themes such as eHealth (with Norway), enhanced mobility (UK), renewable energy (Spain) and water management (Netherlands).

To support the Space for Med initiative, ESA and Luxinnovation, Luxembourg’s National Agency for Innovation and Research, in coordination with EIB have created a new Ambassador Platform located in Luxembourg.

Under the direction of Dr Mathias Link, it will focus on awareness and promotion activities to show how space can improve key infrastructure in the Mediterranean regions, particularly for water management, energy and renewable energy, as well as transport and logistics.

The objective is to develop projects in partnership with user communities, thereby ensuring that the services proposed are operationally sustainable.

“I am convinced that an increased dialogue and coordination between ESA and EIB is of mutual interest to our organisations,” said Magali Vaissière, ESA Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications.

“It will allow the expansion of the use of satellite-based applications for the benefit of people and of the economy.”

“We hope that this first step will lead to more and better projects for the Mediterranean region, to show Europe’s leadership in complex technologies and support for SMEs in this area,” said Mr de Fontaine Vive Curtaz.

“EIB and ESA will work together for the greater good, including to improve the efficiency of major infrastructure investments, reduce pollution and work toward a safer Mediterranean sea. This is why I call on other countries to join this initiative.”

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