Today, on the 13th July 2012, the European Space Agency officially confirmed that the full membership of Poland in the agency has been accepted. The proposed joining date is the 1st of January 2013.
On the last Tuesday, the 10th of July, in the Polish Ministry of Economy a special meeting was held. Attending were Polish space industry firms and institutions interested in the development of the space sector. The aim of the meeting was to talk on the industry consolidation and to appoint a body responsible for the space industry promotion and development. This could be a partner authority for the Government and Parliament working on the industry’s stimulation for the good of the country.
The entrepreneurs were welcomed by the Ministry officials responsible for innovative economy development and creating of the national space policy, as well as the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development. A speech was given also by Mr Bernard Zufferey, a representative of the European Space Agency. The guests could talk with the MP Bogusław Wontor, the chairman of the parliamentary group for space. Without the work of the those parliamentarians, the joining process would not be as quick. The group also arranged Poland’s entry into EUMETSAT in 2009. Determination and skills has also been shown up by negotiation team from Ministry of Economics, which now will be responsible for creating national space policy.
MoE and ESA presented the framework of Poland’s accession to European Space Agency. The first year membership fee will be reach the amount of 145 mln PLN / 35 mln EURO. The funds will be allocated from some of the ministerial budgets, mainly the Ministry of Economics, Ministry of Science and Higher Education and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The source of financing has been a troubling spot inside the Polish Cabinet, which caused delays in the agreement, which was accepted on the 12th June of this year.
The next steps will be as following:
- NET July / August 2012 the accession documents will be signed by Poland and ESA, the signing ceremony will be held probably in Warsaw
- December 2012 – the accession ratification by the Polish parliament
- 1st of January 2013 – the membership documents will be delivered to Paris, and Poland will become officially a 20th member of ESA
According to the accepted rules for the first 5-6 years the Polish industry will be going through a transition period. In this time about 45% of the Polish contribution fee will be coming back in ESA contracts specially prepared for the specifics of the local space industry. Commissions will be send only to Polish firms. The aim is to prepare the firms to work with the Agency and let them develop further. Other funds will be allocated for obligatory and additional programms. But in this branch Poland will have to compete with other ESA members.