Europe to hold a competition to build a space cargo ship

Seville (AFP) – The European Space Agency announced Monday it would hold a competition between firms to build a ship to deliver cargo to the International Space Station, in a potential first step towards independent missions carrying astronauts.

The ESA’s 22 member states, whose space ministers were meeting at a two-day summit in the Spanish city of Seville, also agreed to provide financial support for Europe’s long-delayed Ariane 6 rocket.  Ariane 6 delays have left the continent without a way to independently blast its missions into space. 

Europe also faces growing competition from the United States, China and India, as well as private companies such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX. ESA chief Josef Aschbacher told the summit that “a new economy is developing in low Earth orbit that will transform space exploration.” Aschbacher proposed “a competition between innovative European companies” to develop a ship that would transport cargo to the ISS by 2028 — then bring it back to Earth. (November 6)

100 Austrian soldiers reinforce EU troops in Bosnia

Vienna/Sarajevo/EU-wide (APA) – Around 100 Austrian army soldiers will reinforce the EU troops in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) from Monday. As the Austrian Ministry of Defence announced on Saturday, the soldiers of fighter battalion 24 from Tyrol and fighter battalion 19 from Güssing would complete operational training in the next few weeks. There are currently 292 members of the Austrian Armed Forces involved in the EUFOR Althea mission.

“Austria is committed to actively participate in managing crises and securing peace in international peace operations, in order to meet the new challenges of the 21st century,” said the country’s Defence Minister Klaudia Tanner.

Austrian soldiers in Bosnia and Herzegovina have been under the command of the European Union’s EUFOR Althea mission since December 2004. Together with their comrades from many other nations, they support compliance with the Dayton Agreement. The main task of the soldiers is to ensure a safe life for the population in Bosnia and Herzegovina and to intervene in the event of domestic conflicts. The commander of the mission is Austrian Major General Helmut Habermayer. (November 4)

Croatia supports EU reforms so the union can expand

Berlin (HINA) – At a conference on Thursday in Berlin, Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić-Radman supported Germany’s reform ideas for the European Union to prepare the bloc for further expansion. “We support the enlargement and we believe that this process can take place in parallel with institutional reforms,” said Gordan Grlić-Radman after the ministerial conference entitled “Bigger, stronger Union”.

Grlić-Radman said that one should think about everything that was limiting and slowing down the development and work of EU institutions, but he pointed out that the most important thing right now was to achieve unity within the EU. “The priority is unity and solidarity, and the strengthening of those instruments that serve to better defend against threats,” Grlić-Radman said.

At the conference, the Croatian Foreign Minister advocated the earliest possible opening of EU accession negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“We are advocating the opening of accession negotiations as soon as possible, at the beginning of next year at the latest. We are currently waiting for a positive opinion from the European Commission on the progress of the countries of the Western Balkans,” Grlić-Radman said. He added that he was sure that the majority of member states were inclined to support the start of negotiations because, as he said, most of the leaders in BiH supported the entry, and BiH’s EU accession was of geopolitical and geostrategic importance for the EU.

“The start of negotiations could strengthen the pro-European forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina and speed up the reform processes,” Grlić-Radman concluded. (November 2)

This is a compilation of the European coverage of enr news agencies. It is published Tuesdays and Fridays. The content is an editorial selection based on news by the respective agency.