Joint declaration – Franco-German Ministerial Council
The Franco-German Ministerial Council met in Paris on 19 February 2014 to discuss a wide range of topics. Aviation, space, energy, transport and security were all mentioned in the joint declaration, once again demonstrating that DLR is working on areas of high political relevance. This is interesting and important, but in addition, concrete decisions with regard to research and development that will affect our work here at DLR were included in the joint declaration.
The Energy Transition, as well as the activities it requires, such as 'an ambitious research and development policy within the field of energy storage', were, as expected, very high on the agenda. This is where DLR can contribute its expertise and take action in areas such as:
explanation/monitoring (global change)
science/technology (solar, wind and hybrid power, energy storage, power grid)
The intended collaboration with French institutions, as detailed in the document regarding the Energy Transition, is an invitation to further strengthen our existing relationships.
Another topic of discussion in the joint declaration was the transport, space science and space flight sector and a 'secure and sustainable transport system', including electromobility, railways and air transport, as an additional overall objective.
Special mention was made of aviation, including 'the importance of the development of the air travel industry', and the SESAR programme for the improvement of European air traffic management, and the European technology initiative 'Clean Sky' . This is another area in which DLR is able to 'deliver', for example thanks to its:
scientific and technical work
independent expert advice
reviews of industrial policy (for example, Airbus)
communication/positioning in the public arena (active noise protection, synfuels)
The Franco-German Ministerial Council took place in Paris on 19 February 2014. Credit: Chris Waits (CC BY 2.0).
Whilst the topic of space science and space flight was only briefly mentioned in the declaration, the message was very clear: 'Germany and France support the consolidation of industry for the production of European launch vehicles, allowing for independent access to space; together, they will develop the Ariane ME programme / Ariane 6. This year, the European Space Agency will be celebrating its 50th anniversary, which will provide both countries with the opportunity to demonstrate their support at the highest level.'
Thus, both a joint Franco-German position on launcher issues has been established and a clear vote in favour of ESA as intergovernmental organisation has been cast.
Finally, the joint declaration also touched upon the topic of security, another of DLR's fields of research.
In summary, the Franco-German consultations contributed towards the neighbourly collaboration between the two states and established a thematic focus for DLR as both a research centre and a national space agency.