Today's launch of two new Galileo satellites from Kourou, in French Guiana, is another milestone in the history of the programme.
Four satellites are already in orbit and the system's operation has been validated. The two additional satellites, based on a new design, are the first of a new phase, leading to the full deployment of the constellation.
These two satellites are also the first that the EU fully owns. This strengthens the EU's position in the space domain.
I would like to thank the EU's space industry, OHB and Arianespace, as well as the European Space Agency and my services in the European Commission, for today's achievement.
Difficulties had to be overcome. This may happen in large-scale programmes. What matters is our collective capacity and determination to solve problems that may arise. And these capacity and determination have been proven.
With two additional satellites in orbit, Galileo is moving closer to the provision of early services in the course of next year. This will be to the benefit of EU companies, international partners and also European citizens.
A second launch is planned in 2014 and in 2015 additional satellites will be placed into orbit.
The EU's space programmes are strategic for our technological and scientific competitiveness. This is why the EU has decided to invest 12 billion euro in space activities over the period 2014-2020.
This is also why the Commission recently invested five hundred million euro to secure the use of three European "Ariane 5" launchers for the future Galileo satellites. A good news for the autonomous access of Europe to space.
Today, the EU is turning our huge investment in space into concrete results. I am convinced that we are moving forward in the right direction.