Europlanet Dinner Debate in the European Parliament
February 7, 2023

Europlanet Dinner Debate in the European Parliament

On 24 January 2023, Europlanet and Niklas Nienass, MEP, co-hosted a Dinner Debate in the European Parliament. The theme of the debate was “Promoting the importance of space policies and a European Space Strategy”.

The evening started with an introduction by Mr Nienass and a video message from the Europlanet 2024 RI Coordinator and President of the Europlanet Society, Nigel Mason, who was unable to attend in person. Over dinner, a number of invited participants gave short keynote speeches, and this was followed by an open debate.


Niklas Nienass, MEP, co-host
Nigel Mason/Barbara Cavalazzi, Europlanet, co-host

Short keynote note speeches
Marian-Jean Marinescu, MEP
Rodrigo da Costa, Head of EU Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA)
Josef Aschbacher, Director of European Space Agency (ESA)
Kai-Uwe Schrogl, President of the International Institute of Space Law (IISL)
Christoph Kutz, Head of DG DEFIS
Ann-Carine Vandaele, Vice President of Europlanet Society Executive Board
Charles Galland, Policy Manager, ASD-Eurospace

Debate (moderated by Niklas Nienass)

Details of the Dinner Debate: “Promoting the importance of space policies and a European Space Strategy”.

Europe’s capacities in the space sector are continuously growing; we have world-leading programmes covering all areas of space activities and the largest international community of planetary scientists. The importance of space endeavors slowly comes to overall public awareness and this is mirrored in increased private interest as well as governmental spending. As Europe, we have enormous potential going forward but currently, we are lacking a common policy framework, legislative basis and overall strategy. We need to keep building the coherent, well-networked and collaborative community we have and fully exploit the resources at our disposal. Europe is taking a leading role in challenging missions aiming at changing the space sector. 

This high-level event should bring decision-makers, academics and researchers together to discuss the importance of a European Space Strategy, status quo and common visions to go forward.

MEP Niklas Nienass is Member of the European Parliament for The Greens/EFA, where he is responsible for space policy. A strong supporter of the European new space economy, he is committed to establish a European space legislation and set international standards for space traffic management. He has a seat in the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE), where he negotiates space related legislative files on behalf of the Greens/EFA group. In 2020 he graduated with a Master’s degree in Good Governance with a thesis on international space law.

The Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (Europlanet 2024 RI) is the culmination of a series of projects funded by successive European Union Framework Programmes (FP6 and FP7) to build a research infrastructure integrating planetary science across the European Research Area. Europlanet 2024 RI delivers access to virtual services and transnational access to the world’s largest collection of planetary simulation and analysis facilities. Europlanet is equally well placed within the Horizon Europe strategic objectives, focusing on industrial applications, development of digital technologies, EO services, AI and machine learning. The Europlanet Society, launched in 2018, is structured around 10 Regional Hubs and it aims to build sustainable capacity and cascade expertise in stakeholder engagement through the European planetary community. Europlanet focuses on evidence-based policy, informing policy makers on the scientific, industrial and socio-economic impacts of planetary science, at European and national level. They are also engaging with the planetary science community raising awareness and encouraging its engagement with policy makers and industry across Europe, in particular with SMEs.