ZAGREB, February 19, 2018 – Croatia and the European Space Agency (ESA) signed an agreement concerning space cooperation for peaceful purposes in Zagreb on Monday in the presence of representatives of Croatian scientific and economic institutions. The agreement was signed by the Minister of Science and Education, Blaženka Divjak, and the head of the ESA External Relations Department, Frederic Nordlund.
The agreement will accelerate networking between Croatian researchers and European industries and the development of areas from meteorology and environmental protection to satellite navigation and robotics, Divjak said. She expressed hope that the agreement, signed on the date of birth of Nicolaus Copernicus, would bring about “a Copernican revolution in the relationship between science and industry.” Divjak said that the agreement would also support the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) area which is her ministry’s focus of interest.
Tajana Kesić Šapić of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce said that the agreement was an opportunity to provide a stronger boost to this area because 90 percent of ESA’s contracts are with European companies. She mentioned 550 suppliers from 24 countries, and added that many Croatian companies had shown interest in cooperation.
Nordlund said he was pleased with the signing of the agreement, adding that Croatia was already a member of the European space family because it had participated in decisions on projects such as Galileo and Copernicus. He said that with this agreement Croatia would strengthen its cooperation with the ESA members.
The Paris-based ESA is an international organisation consisting of 22 member states: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Slovenia is an associate member. Canada participates in some projects under the cooperation agreement. Bulgaria, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia and Croatia have cooperation agreements with ESA.
ESA’s 2017 budget was 5.75 billion euro. It invests in each member state through industrial contracts for space programs, in an amount more or less equivalent to each country’s contribution.