THE EU AS A SPACE POWER A path towards integration or interdependence?
This thesis aims to explore the synergies (or the lack thereof) in the actions and programmes of the European Union in conjunction with the European Space Agency in the areas of the space-based economy, space-based sustainability, and space-based security, based on the joint statement signed in 2016 by the two organizations. The joint statement said that the organizations would work in close cooperation with each other for unified and concerted progress within the space sector. I employed content analysis as a research method to analyse the following primary sources: documents relating to the EU space policy, reports from the European Commission, European Space Agency as well as independent bodies such as ESPI. The areas of study – space-based economy, sustainability, and security, were chosen as both organizations have shown topical interest in these areas. The joint statement defines economy and security as foundational requirements for synergy. Sustainability has become a primary focus within Europe in recent years and the EU has set up the EU green deal and net-zero 2050 goals. To achieve these sustainability goals, organizations would need to rely on the space sector. The research gap this thesis looked to explore is the unique nature of space governance that Europe finds itself in, with two independent partners trying to work in unison in the fast-growing and intensely competitive space sector. The thesis argues that the organizations continue to work in siloes and will only become interdependent when the mutual interests and benefits are greater than their self-interests in the short term. It also highlights that long-term goals and benefits for the continent may fall short because of the necessity for short-term gain.