BRUSSELS, Oct. 25 (Xinhuanet) -- Former European
commissioner Karel Van Miert has been appointed mediator to accelerate Galileo,
Europe 's satellite navigation program, said the European Commission on Tuesday.
Van Miert's mission will be to act as mediator
between European Union (EU) member states and industry in order to facilitate
decisions on the Galileo program, said the commission, the EU's executive body,
in a press release.
"Over the past few weeks, some decisions at
industrial level have been delayed for various reasons, partly because of the
complexity of the industrial organization," it said.
Jacques Barrot, vice president of the European
Commission in charge of transport, who made the appointment, asked for support
to Van Miert.
"Galileo is a project that only a united Europe can
accomplish.A divided Europe can only endanger the success of the project," said
the press release.
"We want to see urgent progress, because teams of
experts from the industry have been brought together and a truly European stock
of scientific, economic and financial expertise on satellite navigation has
emerged. These teams now have to get down to work in order to prepare the
launching of the first four satellites of the Galileo constellation."
Galileo runs in three stages -- development,
deployment and exploitation. By the end of the development phase (2003-2008),
the first four of a total of 30 operational satellites should be launched. Two
experimental satellites will be launched in 2006.
Costs for the development and deployment phases are
estimated at 1.5 billion euros (1.8 billion US dollars) and 2.1 billion euros
(2.5 billion dollars) respectively. Enditem