On November 29, the Council of Ministers adopted positions on the importance of space for the sustainable development of the Arctic region. The space-based systems are described as important for, among other things, research and monitoring of the Arctic, enabling the implementation of the EU strategy for the Arctic regions. Northern Sweden is already recognized as a strong player in space research and space activity infrastructure, and this position also highlights the opportunities to use the resources for the development of the Arctic region.
Space is growing in importance both for the development of industry and for the independence of states and opportunities for research, monitoring, and communication. Northern Sweden is in the midst of this development with strong universities in areas such as atmospheric science and space technology, but also through the space operations conducted at Esrange in Kiruna through, for example. satellite monitoring and launch of sounding rockets.
The conclusions of the Council of Ministers, do not introduce new resources but emphasize the EU's commitment and the benefits of the existing and future space activities for the development of the Arctic. The Council of Ministers calls for enhanced cooperation between Europe's operational space operations institutions: the Global Navigation Satellite System Agency (GNSS), the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), as well as other entities that can encourage space systems in favor of Arctic.
The conclusions were adopted on 29 November by EU Research Ministers and from Sweden participated by Matilda Ernkrans, Minister of Higher Education and Research. The issue was dealt with during the final vote by the Finnish Presidency of the Council of Ministers, which is handed over to Croatia after the end of the year. At the same meeting, another set of conclusions on sustainable space economics was adopted, in which the Council of Ministers emphasized the importance of space technology and activity for other sectors such as digital transformation and climate measures.
Ministers also called on the European Commission to update the EU's Arctic strategy, taking into account the opportunities offered by space activity and in view of the increased international interest in space.