Skip to main content

Galileo System

Question for Ministry of Defence

UIN HL12040, tabled on 4 December 2018

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the UK’s withdrawal from the Galileo project on security and defence co-operation with the EU after Brexit.

Answered on

13 December 2018

The UK has made an unconditional commitment to maintain Europe's security, which is why we are seeking a new, ambitious future security partnership with the EU to tackle the common threats we face and safeguard our citizens. The Political Declaration sets out a comprehensive future security partnership, which provides for close, flexible and scalable cooperation that will allow UK and EU efforts to be combined, when it is in our mutual interests. This includes UK participation in EU missions on a case by case basis, consideration of how best the UK and the EU might cooperate on international development, consultation on sanctions, and the voluntary and timely exchange of intelligence. The deal ensures that cooperation can be scaled up in the event of a crisis.

The UK has made clear that it could only justify continued participation in the Galileo programme on a basis that would enable us to rely on Galileo for our national security. The offer on the table from the European Commission does not meet our stated security or industrial requirements and, on this basis, the Prime Minister has confirmed the UK will not use Galileo for defence or critical national infrastructure after we leave the EU.

Non-participation in Galileo will not have any immediate impact on UK defence and security capabilities. The encrypted Galileo service is not due to be active until the mid-2020s, and the UK will retain access to US GPS services as it does at present. We are working on options for a national alternative to Galileo to guarantee our satellite positioning, navigation and timing needs are met in the future. The Government has invested £92 million of Brexit readiness money for the design and development of the UK programme.