Enlargement of the European Space Agency
The European Space Agency (ESA) in its current form was founded in 1975 when the European Space Research Organisation (ESRO) merged with the European Launcher Development Organisation (ELDO). The ESA Convention was signed by the ESRO and ELDO members on 30 May 1975 and by Ireland on 31 December 1975. Canada signed the ESA Convention as an associate member on 9 December 1978. The Convention entered into force on 30 October 1980 after the ratification procedures in the 10 ESRO/ELDO members were finalised.
|ESA in 1980||member||member||member||member||member||member||member||member||member||member||member||associate member||associate member|
The current membership of the European Space Agency includes 21 member states and one associate member as follows:
|esa Founding members||ESA Convention signature||Ratification||National Program|
|Sweden||30 May 1975||6 April 1976||SNSB|
|Switzerland||30 May 1975||19 November 1976||SSO|
|Germany||30 May 1975||26 July 1977||DLR|
|Denmark||30 May 1975||15 September 1977||DNSC|
|Italy||30 May 1975||20 February 1978||ASI|
|United Kingdom||30 May 1975||28 March 1978||BNSC|
|Belgium||30 May 1975||3 October 1978||BIRA|
|Netherlands||30 May 1975||6 February 1979||SRON|
|Spain||30 May 1975||7 February 1979||INTA|
|France||30 May 1975||30 October 1980||CNES|
|Ireland||31 December 1975||10 December 1980||SI|
|Associate members||Signature||Entry into force||National Program|
|Canada||9 December 1978||1 January 1979||CSA|
|ESA Convention entry into force: 30 October 1980|
|Acceded members ||ESA Convention signature||ESA membership||National Program|
|Austria||12 April 1984||30 December 1986||ASA|
|Norway||12 December 1985||30 December 1986||NSC|
|Finland||22 March 1994||1 January 1995||TEKES|
|Portugal||4 October 2000||14 November 2000||CEP|
|Greece||19 July 2004||9 March 2005||ISARS|
|Luxembourg||6 May 2004||30 June 2005||through MoHER|
|Czech Republic||8 July 2008||12 August 2008||CSO|
|Romania||20 January 2011||23 December 2011||ROSA|
|Poland||13 September 2012||19 November 2012||CBK-PAN|
|Estonia||4 February 2015||later in 2015||EAS|
|Hungary||24 February 2015||later in 2015||HSO|
The ESA Convention does not require acquisition of the status of an associate member in order for a state to become a full member. The association status is envisaged to allow associate member states to take part in ESA's deliberative bodies and decision-making and also in ESA's programmes and activities. Associate member state firms can bid for and receive contracts to work on programmes. The accord has a provision ensuring a fair industrial return to the associate members.
Previously, associate members were Austria, Norway and Finland (through its Ministry of Trade and Industry), all of which later joined ESA as full members. Portugal, Greece and Luxembourg skipped associate membership and moved from Cooperation Agreements to full ESA membership. The Czech Republic also skipped associate membership, but it went through the new enlargement process via Cooperation Agreement, ECS Agreement and PECS Charter implementation.
Despite that the provisions in the ESA Convention do not show restrictions that only European states can join, the ESA Council implements such rule de facto and that is why Canada has only the status of associate member. However, it is as tightly integrated with the ESA institutions as possible for a non-member state.
The ELDO associate member Australia (CSIRO) decided not to continue as an associate member of ESA. Nevertheless, on 5 March 2003 the first of ESA's deep space ground stations in the world opened in western Australia in an inauguration ceremony.
After the decision of the ESA Council of 21/22 March 2001 the procedure for accession of the European states was detailed as described here. Nations who want to become a full member of ESA do so in 3 stages. First a Cooperation Agreement is signed between the country and ESA. In this stage the country has very limited financial responsibilities. If a country wants to cooperate more fully with ESA it signs a European Cooperating State (ECS) agreement.
The ECS Agreement makes companies based in the country eligible for participation in ESA procurements. The country can also participate in all ESA programmes, except for the Basic Technology Research Programme. While the financial contribution of the country concerned increases, it is still much lower than that of a full member state. The agreement is normally followed by a Plan for European Cooperating State (or PECS Charter).
This is a 5-year program of basic research and development activities aimed at improving the nations' space industry capacity. At the end of the 5-year period, the country can either begin negotiations to become a full member state or an associated state or sign a new PECS Charter. ESA is likely to expand quite rapidly in the coming years. Many countries, most of which joined the EU in both 2004 and 2007, have started to cooperate with ESA on various levels.
|Applicant state||Cooperation Agreement||ECS Agreement||PECS Charter||ESA Convention signature||Full Membership||National Program|
|Austria||1979 for associate membership||12 April 1984||30 December 1986||ASA|
|Norway||1981 for associate membership||12 December 1985||30 December 1986||NSC|
|Finland||1987 for associate membership||22 March 1994||1 January 1995||TEKES|
|Portugal||1996||NA||NA||4 October 2000||14 November 2000||CEP|
|Greece||January 2001||NA||NA||19 July 2004||9 March 2005||ISARS|
|Luxembourg||September 2000||NA||NA||6 May 2004||30 June 2005||through MoHER|
|Czech Republic||1996||24 November 2003||24 November 2004||8 July 2008||12 August 2008||CSO|
|Romania||December 1992||17 February 2006||16 February 2007||20 January 2011||23 December 2011||ROSA|
|Poland||28 January 1994||27 April 2007||28 April 2008||13 September 2012 ||19 November 2012||CBK-PAN|
|Estonia||20 June 2007||10 November 2009||22 September 2010||4 February 2015||EAS|
|Hungary||April 1991||7 April 2003||1st: 5 November 2003
2nd: 26 September 2008
3rd: 17 October 2013
|24 February 2015||HSO|
|Applicant state||Cooperation Agreement||ECS Agreement||PECS Charter(s)||National Programme|
|Turkey||15 July 2004||TÜBİTAK UZAY|
|Ukraine||25 January 2008||SSAU|
|Slovenia||28 May 2008||22 January 2010||30 November 2010||through MoHEST|
|Latvia||23 July 2009||19 March 2013||30 January 2015||through MoES|
|Cyprus||27 August 2009||through MoCW|
|Slovakia||28 April 2010||16 February 2015||through MoE|
|Lithuania||7 October 2010||10 October 2014||LSA|
|Israel||30 January 2011||ISA|
|Malta||20 February 2012||MCST|
|Bulgaria||NA||8 April 2015||SRTI|
Possible future cooperation
The political perspective of the European Union (EU) had been to make ESA an agency of the EU by 2014, however, this date was not met. The EU is already the largest single donor to ESA's budget and non-ESA EU states are observers at ESA.
The only EU member state that has not signed any agreement with ESA is Croatia. In December 2014, the ESA Ministerial Council authorized officials to begin discussions to establish a formal cooperation with Croatia. Three non-EU nations — Israel, Turkey and Ukraine — have cooperation agreements with ESA. Agency officials consider the prospects of full membership for these three countries as remote at the current time. However, ESA ministers instructed agency officials to begin discussions with Australia, Israel and South Africa on future association agreements with ESA. The ministers noted that “concrete cooperation is at an advanced stage” with these nations and that “prospects for mutual benefits are existing”.
Besides EU countries, the EFTA members Norway and Switzerland are also members of ESA. Neither the remaining EFTA member states of Iceland and Liechtenstein nor the EU candidates not listed above have publicly expressed their intention to participate in the European Space Agency's activities.
- ESA Convention
- Ireland is considered initial signatory, but since it was not member of neither ESRO nor ELDO (the precursor organisations to ESA) the convention entered into force when the last of the other 10 founders ratified it.
- Canada and ESA: Three Decades of Cooperation
- Canada and ESA: 20 Years of Cooperation
- Enlargement of ESA
- Esa Press release 21 June 2000
- ESA and Canada long term partnership ESA to participate in Canadian programmes and vice versa.
- The Plan for European Co-operating States (PECS)
- PECS: General Overview
- "ESA/Poland cooperation agreement" (Press release). European Space Agency. 28 January 1994.
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- "Romania". ESA PECS. European Space Agency. Archived from the original on 2008-07-16. Retrieved 2008-07-17.
- Actmedia.eu - Romania is to sign agreement on joining European Space Agency Convention
- esa.int - Romania accedes to ESA Convention
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- "Extension of ECS Agreement between ESA and Hungary". National Innovation Office. 11 November 2008. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
- "ESA signs Cooperation Agreement with Turkey". European Space Agency. 6 September 2004. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
- "A cooperation agreement between the Government of Ukraine and the European Space Agency was signed in Paris". State Space Agency of Ukraine. Retrieved 25 January 2008.
- "Slovenian Government and ESA Sign Cooperation Agreement". Slovenian Government Communication Office. 28 May 2008. Archived from the original on 8 June 2008.
- "Slovenia becomes sixth ESA European Cooperating State". ESA. 25 January 2010. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
- "European Space Agency selects and confirms ten Slovenian proposals". Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology of Slovenia. 3 December 2010. Retrieved 6 December 2010.
- "Līgums ar Kosmosa aģentūru liks tiekties pēc augstākiem rezultātiem". Diena.lv (in Latvian). 23 July 2009. Retrieved 24 July 2009.
- "Latvia becomes seventh ESA European Cooperating State". esa.int. ESA. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
- "Signature of the PECS Charter between ESA and Latvia". ESA. 31 January 2015. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
- "Cyprus signs space agreement". Famagusta Gazette Online. 28 August 2009. Retrieved 30 August 2009.
- "Slovak Republic signs Cooperation Agreement". ESA. 4 May 2010. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
- "Slovensko sa stalo členom Európskej vesmírnej agentúry".
- Danuta Pavilenene (7 October 2010). "Lithuania signs agreement with European Space Agency". The Baltic Course.
- ESA (10 October 2014). "Lithuania becomes eighth ESA European Cooperating State".
- "Lithuanian Space Association". Lietuvos Kosmoso Asociacija. Retrieved 4 July 2014.
- "Lithuania Signs Cooperation Agreement". European Space Agency. 12 October 2010. Retrieved 4 July 2014.
- "Israel signs Cooperation Agreement". ESA.int. 31 January 2011. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
- "Malta signs Cooperation Agreement". ESA. 23 February 2012. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
- "Malta exploring ways of collaborating with European Space Agency". EARSC. 20 June 2009.