BRUSSELS, BELGIUM.- Brexit talks have reached into space, with the European Union and Britain fighting over the rights that London will have to the multi-billion Galileo satellite navigation system and its security-sensitive information.
The EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said that by deciding to leave the bloc, Britain automatically cut its Galileo ties too and could renegotiate them only as a third country under less advantageous conditions.
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Barnier did not address how short those conditions would fall of full EU membership. “No decision has been already taken for the future cooperation between the U.K. and Galileo,” he told reporters in Brussels. “Obviously we will have cooperation between U.K. and Galileo, obviously, as we have for the United States or Norway.”
Reduced to a friendly third country at best has angered the British government, which sees it as a negotiating ploy in the protracted Brexit negotiations that face a fall deadline if Britain’s March 29, 2019 departure date is to proceed smoothly.
British Science Minister Sam Gyimah told the BBC “we have helped to develop the Galileo system. We want to be part of the secure elements of the system and we want U.K. industry to be able to bid for contracts on a fair basis.”