The European Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator responded to warnings from Westminster that Britain is exploring the creation of a “domestic global navigation satellite system” with Brussels insisting access to the EU’s project ends with membership.
The EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini also delivered a scathing criticism of the Brexit campaign, insisting complaints about Britain’s exclusion of Galileo is the result of campaign not informing people about the results of their vote.
Britain wants to maintain access to the Galileo project after contributing over £1 billion in funds and much more expertise since its formation.
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In a UK Government document on the “framework for the UK-EU security partnership”, Britain said: “UK-EU collaboration through Galileo would help develop Europe’s world-leading global satellite navigation capability and support the competitiveness and expertise of the European space sector.
“The UK is exploring the options for a domestic global navigation system.
“The arrangements for any UK cooperation are an important test case of the depth of operational cooperation and information sharing envisaged under the security partnership.”
Despite the British threats, the EU maintains Brexit means the UK will have to be excluded from key elements of the system after March 29, 2019.
The main element is the Public Regulated Service, or PRS – a navigation and timing signal for use by government agencies, armed forces and emergency services.
Mr Barnier said the UK cannot have access to PRS after Brexit because it is for EU member states only, insisting a new treaty could pave the way for access.
The Commission has also made it clear British firms will not be allowed to work on PRS after the UK’s EU divorce.
Speaking to an audience in Brussels on post-Brexit security, Mr Barnier said: “We are not kicking the UK out of Galileo. The UK decided unilaterally and autonomously to withdraw from the EU. This implies leaving its programmes as well.
“We need to put the cooperation on Galileo between the EU and the UK on a new basis.
“In doing so, our responsibility is to maintain the autonomy of the EU and to protect our essential security interests.