The EU and Outer Space activities (February 2014)

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Overview of the latest EU official documents, publications of the Consortium, and publications from the network regarding the European Union leadership on an International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities

On 20-22 November 2013, representatives from 60 countries met in Bangkok to discuss the latest version of the draft International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities released on 16 September 2013 by the EU. The first EU Code of conduct proposal dates back to 2007 and was intended to regulate both civil and military space activities. More precisely, its main objective was and still is to reinforce existing conventions and instruments towards their universalization and to codify best practices in terms of outer-space activities. The draft promotes compliance of signatory states to treaties and conventions such as the CTBT; the Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and under Water; and the International Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation. Since then, a process of broad consultations on the proposal has been launched between EU and all interested states, with the objective to achieve the widest possible support. A first round of open-ended consultations was held in Kiev in May 2013 and was aimed at getting different states on the same level of information and knowledge. The second multilateral consultation held in Bangkok focused on the actual content and wording of the proposed text. A reviewed draft will be released early 2014. The spokesperson of Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, stated the day of the second round of consultation that “[Catherine Ashton, on Behalf of the EU,] encourages diplomats and space experts to engage in in-depth discussions on this new proposal that would create a voluntary set of norms of behaviour with the aim to reduce the potential for accidents, incidents and conflicts in an increasingly complex and congested outer space environment”.

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