The Republic of Croatia has signed a Co-operation Agreement with the European Space Agency (ESA) today (19 February). This agreement will allow Croatia and ESA to create the framework for a more intensive and concrete co-operation related to ESA programmes and activities.
Blaženka Divjak, Croatian Minister of Science and Education, and Frédéric Nordlund, head of ESA’s External Relations Department, on behalf of the Director General, signed the co-operation agreement during an official ceremony.
The co-operation agreement allows a nation to begin working with ESA on a formal basis.
The European Space Agency had 22 member states with ten applicant states waiting for admission, Estonia and Hungary also joined in February. With this agreement, ESA has now established formal co-operation with all EU member states that are not member states of ESA.
Minister Divjak said: “We need to build synergies through this agreement between space science, research, education and industry.”
The ESA director general, Johann-Dietrich Wörner, conducts a series of biannual meetings with representatives of those EU member states that are not member states of European Space Agency. Croatia attended these meetings and, through this agreement, is given the opportunity to participate as an observer in ESA Council meetings as well as that of its subordinate bodies.
When did the co-operation talks begin?
Discussions between ESA and Croatia, represented by the Ministry of Science and Education, about a potential co-operation started in 2014. The first negotiation meeting took place in May 2015 in Zagreb, Croatia. The government of Croatia has nominated the Ministry of Science and Education as ESA’s counterpart for the implementation of this Co-operation Agreement.
Among the Croatian entities involved in space are the Rudjer Boskovic Institute (RBI), Meteorological and Hydrological Service (DHMZ), the National Protection and Rescue Directorate (DUZS), Croatian Academy of Science and Arts (HAZU) and the Faculties of Science, Electrical Engineering and Computing, Geodesy, Transport, Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture of the University of Zagreb and other leading universities in Croatia.
A number of Croatian companies are also involved in space, particularly in satellite software development.