Re: What's the point of a pilot phase
As us mere mortals aren't bothered about relying on the generous US largese (beer owed), one could argue that the only reasons for Gallileo to exist at all is:
1) for French overseas millitary operations taking place without US service denials. Pity they put a critical component in Italy then (especially as Italy is reputed to be becoming in thrall to Chinese financial, and surely then politiical, influence).
2) so that European politicians can slap their space dicks on the Who's Big in Space table and show off. Currently looking a bit deflated there, chaps?