The lift-off of the European Ariane 5 rocket

European space agency links to be ‘handled separately’ from Brexit

Image credit: European Space Agency

Britain’s space ambitions will not be tied to the Government’s Brexit negotiations, a minister has signalled.

Business minister Jesse Norman said the issue of continued involvement with the European Space Agency (ESA) will be treated as distinct from the UKs formal divorce with Brussels.

He said the ESA sits outside the European Union (EU) and as a result will be ‘handled separately’.

Mr Normans comments came in response to a question from Drew Hendry, the SNP MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey.

Mr Hendry asked during business questions in the Commons: “What guarantees will the minister give to the group representing the UK aerospace industry, ADS, when they state that they must have, and I quote, access to vital space programmes initiated by the EU space agency but also funded by specific EU programmes?”

Mr Norman replied: “The Secretary of State has already talked about the importance of the satellite programmes that we have got in this country and the European Space Agency sits outside the EU structure itself and therefore will be handled separately from EU discussions.”

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