“The Czech Republic has a range of experts in the field of space and satellite technology. Our technical universities are the source of a high-quality workforce and a guarantee for the further development of the project. Prague’s location and its easy accessibility by air and land routes are undeniable advantages. I believe that the Czech Republic has a very good chance of success,” says Tomas Hruda, CEO of CzechInvest.
“Our aim in Brussels is to present Prague as city that, in terms of its infrastructure, political situation and culture, is prepared to host such an important European organization. The joint presentation demonstrates the great effort exerted by all of the institutions involved – the Ministry of Transportation, the capital city, the Czech Space Office, and CzechInvest – as well as by individuals interested in the project,” says Marek Doubravsky, coordinator of the Galileo project for CzechInvest.
“Hosting such a strategic institution can potentially bring other investments in very advanced sectors, such as information technologies and electronics, which are priority fields for CzechInvest. Locating Galileo in the Czech Republic should also have a positive influence on the development of domestic companies. There are many firms here that are among the world leaders in special technologies,” Hruda adds.
A decision on the Galileo headquarters will be taken at one of the upcoming European Union summits under the German presidency in the first half of next year, and the Czech Republic has recently been among the favourites. Of the other post-communist Central and Eastern European countries, only Slovenia is involved in the competition, while Malta is the only other new EU member state in contention. Following the first round of discussions of the European Council, however, none of the new member states had been eliminated, and thus eleven countries remain in contention, mainly from Western Europe. Even so, the Czechs are still actively engaged in diplomacy with regard to the project.
The Galileo system is to be in operation from 2010 and will primarily serve civilian purposes. Galileo will be instrumental in guiding aircraft and motorists, while also assisting in search and rescue operations. The system should also encourage the development of European science in the area of space research and modern technologies.