Polish Space Agency – ongoing political activities

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Between April and August the Polish Parliament has worked on the act establishing the Polish Space Agency.

When Poland became a Member State of the European Space Agency (ESA) in 2012, various circles have discussed the necessity of creating a Polish space-related administrative body. Two options have been discussed: an office located at one of the ministries or a stand-alone agency.

In May 2013, during the 4th Innovation Forum in Rzeszow, politicians announced the start of work on the draft act establishing the Polish Space Agency, rejecting the office option. Seven months later, the draft of the act was officially announced and sent to the lower chamber of Polish Parliament (“Sejm”). The agency was called then “POLSA” (POLish Space Agency). Following, up to April 2014, various economic, political and scientific Sejm commissions worked on the act. In April the first reading of the act at Sejm was accomplished – all political parties have supported the creation of the Polish Space Agency.

In July a second and a third reading of the act followed at Sejm. Finally, on 25th of July Sejm has voted on the creation of the agency and the act was sent to the upper chamber of the Parliament (“Senat”).

The Senat worked on the act establishing POLSA in early August, after its commissions passed their opinion. Senat has identified 46 corrections to the act, of which 41 were finally integrated to the document. The final voting on POLSA by Senat took place on 7th of August. The vote was in favour of creating POLSA.

The act was then sent back to Sejm for the final approval or modifications. This is a standard legislation process in Poland. The final voting in Sejm should take place between 27th and 29th of August. If support to creation of POLSA remains the same and Sejm will pass the act at that date, then before 20th of September the President will have to either sign the act or veto it.

So far there has been a very broad support to the creation of POLSA – all major parties are in favour of establishing this agency. Initially POLSA will be a small agency with a budget of 5-10 million Polish Zloty (ca. 1,5 to 2,5 million EUR). It might begin its activities in early 2015.

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