EUR-Lex Access to European Union law

Back to EUR-Lex homepage

This document is an excerpt from the EUR-Lex website

Galileo Joint Undertaking

This summary has been archived and will not be updated, because the summarised document is no longer in force or does not reflect the current situation.

Galileo Joint Undertaking

GALILEO is the European satellite radio navigation and positioning programme. Launched by the European Commission and developed jointly with the European Space Agency, it will give the European Union an independent technology to compete with the American GPS and Russian GLONASS systems. This Regulation, adopted in 2002, set up a Joint Undertaking to manage the development phase of the GALILEO programme. It was then amended and GALILEO ceased to exist as from 31 December 2006: as the development phase was extended until the end of 2008 the Joint Undertaking's activities were transferred to the GNSS Supervisory Authority.


Council Regulation (EC) No 876/2002 of 24 May 2002 setting up the Galileo Joint Undertaking [Official Journal L 138, 28.5.2002] [See amending acts].


Emphasising both the need to give a positive boost to European industries and services and to ensure Europe's independence in such a vital technology, the GALILEO satellite radio navigation programme has been planned in a number of phases:

  • the definition phase enabled the basic components of the project to be put in place;
  • the development phase (initially due to last from 2002 until 2005), aimed at verifying and testing the various components of the system's architecture; it was in fact extended to last until after 2008;
  • this phase will be followed by the "deployment phase", consisting of the production and launching of satellites and the installation of terrestrial stations and equipment;
  • finally the operational life.

This Regulation lays down the principles and constituent elements of the GALILEO Joint Undertaking. The aim is to have a flexible structure with legal personality that is capable of concluding the contracts needed to establish a European satellite radionavigation system permitting research and technological development. The Joint Undertaking was initially set up to cover the period from 2002 until 2005, until the end of the deployment phase and with the possibility of being extended if necessary. However, given that the development phase will not be completed before the end of 2008, the Union has considered it unnecessary to extend the joint undertaking in 2007, since the GNSS Supervisory Authority, set up in 2004, is capable of performing the necessary tasks.

The Galileo Joint Undertaking therefore ceased to exist as of 31 December 2006.

The two main tasks of the Joint Undertaking were:

  • implementation of the development phase: to this end, the Joint Undertaking, by agreement, entrusted to the European Space Agency the carrying-out of the activities required during the development phase in the space and associated earth segment;
  • preparing for the subsequent phases of the programme: the Joint Undertaking mobilised the public and private sector for the funds needed and set up the management structures for the various successive phases of the programme.



Entry into force - Date of expiry

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 876/2002



Official Journal L138 of 28.5.2002

Amending act(s)

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 1943/2006



Official Journal L 367 of 22.12.2006


Proposal for a Council Decision on the signing of the Cooperation Agreement on a Civil Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) - GALILEO, between the European Community and its Member States and the People's Republic of China [COM(2003) 578 final - Not published in the Official Journal]

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council - Integration of the EGNOS programme in the GALILEO programme [COM(2003)123 final - Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council - Progress report on the GALILEO research programme as at the beginning of 2004 [COM(2004)0112 final - not published in the Official Journal].

The inventory will be drawn up within six months of the actual establishment of the GALILEO joint undertaking. According to the Commission, 2003 was a decisive year for the programme. The first two experimental satellites were ordered and were due to begin transmitting in 2006 thus securing the frequencies allocated in June 2003 at the World Radiocommunication Conference. International cooperation is in full swing since the interest of non-member countries continues to grow. The European Union concluded an agreement with China in October 2003 and initiatives are under way with the United States (agreement in February 2004), Israel (agreement in March 2004), Russia, Brazil, India, Japan, Canada and South Korea. As regards the transition to the deployment (2006-07) and operating (after 2008) phases (according to the initial schedule), three consortia have expressed their interest in investing in the programme. The undertaking selected will contribute some EUR 1.5 billion.

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 24 September 2002 on the state of progress of the GALILEO programme [COM(2002) 518 final - not published in the Official Journal].

Four months on from the entry into force of Regulation (EC) No 876/2002, the Communication reviews the implementation of the GALILEO programme (development phase). The creation of the Joint Undertaking was delayed following problems within the European Space Agency in finalising the respective contributions of the Member States. The Security Board will be set up shortly. The technical document specifying GALILEO's mission, as well as the range, performance and technical characteristics of the associated services, has been consolidated. The next World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC), in June/July 2003, under the aegis of the UN, should confirm that GALILEO's access to the frequency spectrum will be flexible enough to provide all the planned services and that GALILEO is compatible with other radio navigation systems (American GPS, the Russian GLONASS, the Chinese systems). Galileo's worldwide vocation calls for effective cooperation with all third countries.

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council - Moving to the deployment and operational phases of the European satellite radionavigation programme [COM(2004) 636 final - Not published in the Official Journal].

Last updated: 02.08.2007