The EU Satellite Centre: the EU’s Eyes in the Sky


Last week, EU foreign affairs and defence ministers met in Spain to discuss the main current foreign affairs and security issues, in particular Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and the worrying situation in the Sahel. Ahead of those meetings, EU defence ministers met for a SatCen board meeting at its headquarters near Madrid. I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the key role that the EU Satellite Center is playing in our foreign and security policy.

We visited the operations room of the Centre where Director Ducaru and his team showed us concrete examples of how satellite data are transformed into useful geospatial intelligence. Let’s take Ukraine as an example. SatCen is documenting Russia’s huge destructions of Ukrainian cities like Bakhmut and Mariupol. It has also assessed the dramatic effects of the flooding after the destruction of the Kakhovka dam. It is constantly analysing the risks around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. And of course we are sharing these analyses with our Ukrainian partners.

SatCen works wherever EU interests are at stake

SatCen works wherever we have interests at stake. During the crisis in Sudan earlier this year, SatCen was very useful in helping with the coordinating the evacuation of European citizens from Khartoum. The Centre also supports EU border management together with Frontex, for example at the border between Poland and Belarus. Around the world, SatCen is supporting EU missions and operations, from anti-piracy to the combatting of illegal arms trafficking; or helping with humanitarian aid in response to contingencies like the 2020 blast in Beirut harbour.

“Thanks to SatCen, EU institutions and member states have access to fast, top-level, autonomous and reliable analyses, helping us to take better, informed decisions.”

SatCen now has 31 years of expertise and one could call it an example of EU ‘strategic autonomy in action’. It is providing us with our own geospatial intelligence analysis. Thanks to the Centre, EU institutions and member states have access to fast, top-level, autonomous and reliable analyses, based on commercial and governmental satellite data, while working in ever-closer synergy with European space industry. As a result, SatCen is helping us to take better, informed decisions.

Source : EEAS