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EU reaches agreement on Galileo funding
Posted: Sat, Nov 24, 2007, 8:06 AM ET (1306 GMT)
GIOVE-A satellite illustration (ESA) European Union member nations reached an agreement late Friday to fund the Galileo satellite navigation system after resolving concerns by one major nation about the distribution of contracts. EU finance ministers agreed to a proposal first announced this fall to use €2.4 billion (US$3.5 billion) in unspent agricultural subsidies on Galileo, filling a shortfall created when previous efforts to create a public-private partnership that would have paid for most of Galileo fell through. Germany had raised objections to the proposal both because of the precedent created by transferring unspent funds from one program to another as well as concerns that a single company could dominate the contracts that will be awarded for the system. EU officials did agree to divide the development of Galileo into six contracts and prohibit any one company from winning more than two of them. Germany still voted against the proposal, according to reports, but welcomed the revised bidding plan.
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