Galileo is expected to rival the existing US Global Positioning System.

 

The European Commission called for long-term research into satellite communications technologies, building up its space partnership with Russia and developing cooperation with the United States.

 

The European space policy will be discussed in detail at a 7 June meeting of the EU space council, bringing together the EU and European Space Agency member states.

 

Approval

 

It is expected to be approved by the end of the year, the Commission said on Tuesday.

 

"An enlarged and enlarging Europe has to have tools available to deliver on its needs," said EU Industry Commissioner Guenther Verheugen in Brussels.

 

The Galileo navigation system, a $4.64 billion programme, is expected to have the first of its 30 satellites in orbit later this year.

 

Europe, which does not want to be dependent on the US system, also wants to use it for a slew of public services such as monitoring dangerous ships, traffic congestion and animal transport.