The status of Europe’s Galileo satellite GPS project is expected to be the topic of heated discussion over the next two days, as the European Union leaders haggle over the 2014 to 2020 budget.
The Galileo project, behind schedule, well over budget and years away from being completed, faces an uphill battle from the smaller countries in the EU who are dealing with an economic recession, The New York Times reported.
Critics say that Galileo is not much different than the system developed by the United States that is also used in Europe. But Galileo has plenty of supporters, especially in western Europe, who say that Europe shouldn’t have to depend on the U.S. for GPS and its system will be far superior.
The Times reported that proponents are so confident that they are asking for an $8 billion increase for the program, which has already spent more than $4 billion – three times the original budget – and only has launched four of 30 satellites thus far.
An official with the European Commission, the EU’s policy-making arm, said Galileo will allow for independence from American GPS. Its more precise data would “open a whole new world” for business to develop applications, The Times reported Antonio Tajani, vice president of the commission, as saying in a recent speech.