The Slovenia Times

Slovenia soon full member of European Space Agency

Science & Education
Prime Minister Robert Golob and ESA director general Josef Aschbacher sign Slovenia's membership agreement. Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

Slovenia has signed an agreement to become a full member of the European Space Agency (ESA) effective in 2025, a move years in the making that is seen as a major boost to the local aerospace industry.

The agreement was signed on 18 June by Prime Minister Robert Golob and ESA director general Josef Aschbacher and must now be ratified by the Slovenian parliament.

"After this signature, the real work actually begins," Golob said, adding that Slovenia will actively participate and contribute with its know-how, expertise and innovative approaches.

"We are now entering a new era. I wish Slovenia a successful integration into the ESA and the European space supply chain," Aschbacher stressed.

Slovenia has been cooperating with the ESA since 2009, when it signed the Plan for European Cooperating State. In mid-2016 it signed its associate membership agreement as an intermediate step towards full membership.

Since then, more than 30 Slovenian partners have concluded 114 contracts with the ESA worth more than €42.1 million. The number of companies and institutions registered to win ESA projects has been growing, to more than 100.

Full membership will enable Slovenian companies to take part in programmes which they could not fully join before.

It also means that the country will have to contribute more to the agency's budget as of next year.

In 2025, it will pay a one-off sum, the exact amount of which is still subject to negotiations, and increase its annual payment to mandatory ESA programmes to €1.7 million a year. This will replace the current annual membership fee of €500,000.

The ESA currently has 22 members, 20 EU member states plus Norway and Switzerland.


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