Funding for the European Galileo project has finally been given the go ahead, and the GPS system will be operational by 2013.
Galileo was to have been funded by the EU and private companies, but the corporate funding dried up owing to fears over the profitability of the project.
Getting a network of satellites into orbit will cost around £2.4bn, two-thirds of which was to have come from private finance. The EU has now said that it will pick up the entire cost itself.
"The European Parliament, the Council and the Commission reiterate the importance of the Galileo programme as a priority for the European Union," the Parliamentary meeting said.
"We recognise that the [€100m] initially allocated for Galileo in 2007 will not be used, pending uncertainty on the adoption of the legal basis before the end of this year, which would make impossible the recourse to carryover."
Galileo will consist of 30 satellites providing high-level positioning services around the world. It will mirror the US GPS system, but should be more accurate.
Funding for the launches will come from surplus cash in the EU agricultural and science budgets.
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