Europe must not rely on private funding for something as important as Galileo
As I filed a UK patent in 1989 for what is today one of the primary services, personal security, mooted to be created by the consortium and hold, as a result, three US and one Japanese patent for such a service, I feel that I have some right to comment.
Europe is crippled by the idea that you must pay a kings ransom in salaries to employ a large bureaucracy, but get the rest of the people to pay for the primary projects the bureaucracy envisions.
A wonderful example is the Channel Tunnel which, if it had been fully capitalised by equity would have been from the outset a financial success. Instead, some idiot got the idea that it would be better to let every bank loan the funds needed to finish the project and today it is essentially bankrupt and totally in the hands of the banks who care not a jot for the long term vision of a united Europe.
Galileo is another road. It will bring great benefits to all citizens of Europe by permitting, as with GPS, an open solution to any location based service. You pay for roads through general taxation. Europe must pay for Galileo in the same way.
The whole planet is developing navigation solutions. At the moment we are all having to use one single system, GPS. There is no fall back. There are many problems with the existing GPS service, not the least that the United States has shown no willingness to upgrade the system to the power levels needed by everyday consumers in a post Cold War world. Something that is hardly surprising as we can already see the Second Cold War in the process of starting today in the likes of East Africa and the middle East.
Without Galileo, Europe has no knowledge base in such technology, no manufacturing capacity, (other than through US contracts), nor any back up in a time of international emergency.
It is time for Europe to recognise that European projects of importance must be financed from general taxation. Europe cannot be left to rely on private banks, commerce or any other non-European nation to supply its technology needs in a crisis. For, be absolutely certain, in a crisis, Europe will need Galileo and, much more importantly, the resulting knowledge base created by its construction.