European Union/European Commission


The European Commission (EC) is the European Union’s (EU) politically independent, executive arm.


It is alone responsible for drawing up proposals for new European legislation, and it implements the decisions of the European Parliament and the Council of the EU.

Last Updated

23 August 2022

Published on

09 April 2020

The legislative branch of the EU is comprised of the European Parliament, composed of 705 members, and the Council of the European Union (also known as the EU Council), is composed of 27 national ministers from each EU Member State. 

EUMETSAT monitors the communication, directive and legislation of both institutions where they pertain to space and environmental issues.

The European Commission is divided into departments called Directorates-General (DG) and is actively engaged in a range of space-related activities, including Galileo, the Copernicus Programme, satellite telecommunications and space research.

EU comm

DG DEFIS’ responsibilities include developing and carrying out the Commissions’ policies on defence industry and space, via the three large-scale programmes: Copernicus, EGNOS and Galileo, as well as research actions to spur technological innovation and economic growth.

In 2017, the EU approved the space strategy for Europe, which sets out the European ambitions for space over the next decade.

Space strategy for Europe:

1. Maximise the benefits of space for society and the EU economy, by promoting the use of Galileo services in mobile phones, cars and for timing and synchronisation of European critical infrastructure, as well as by improving access to space data for start-ups

2. Ensure a globally competitive and innovative European space sector, by making it easier for companies and start-ups to access space data via dedicated industry-led platforms so that they can develop services and applications; by promoting more private investment for start-ups, in particular in the context of the Investment Plan for Europe and the Pan-European Venture Capital Fund of Funds

3. Reinforce Europe's autonomy in accessing space in a safe and secure environment, by supporting the development of cost-effective, reliable and competitive European launchers

4. Strengthen Europe’s role as a global actor and promoting international cooperation.

Between 2014 and 2020, more than 12 billion EUR will be spent on the implementation of the EU's three space programmes: satellite navigation (Galileo and EGNOS), Earth observation (Copernicus) and space research as part of the Horizon 2020 programme.

Under a Delegation Agreement signed in November 2014, EUMETSAT cooperates closely with the EC. The EU has entrusted EUMETSAT with exploiting the Copernicus space component’s four Sentinel missions dedicated to the monitoring of atmosphere, ocean and climate on its behalf.

EUMETSAT carries out these tasks in cooperation with ESA (already exploiting the Sentinel-3 marine mission), and will work together on the development of the Sentinel-4, -5 and -6 missions. EUMETSAT is also a partner in the cooperative sea level monitoring Jason missions (Jason-3 and Copernicus Sentinel-6) involving Europe and the United States.

EUMETSAT will be responsible for operating these missions and provide access to their data online.

More information on Copernicus is available here.

For more information on DG DEFIS, please visit the website.

EU development & cooperation

DG DEVCO is responsible for designing European international cooperation and development policy, and delivering aid throughout the world.

The Directorate-General delivers aid through a set of financial instruments with a focus on ensuring the quality of EU aid and its effectiveness. An active and proactive player in the development field, it promotes good governance, human and economic development and tackles universal issues, such as fighting hunger and preserving natural resources.

DG DEVCO implements the funding instruments for external assistance. These instruments are used for providing development funding for the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and other non-EU countries. EUMETSAT supports projects financed by DG DEVCO, such as:

  • Preparation for Use of MSG in Africa (PUMA)
  • African Monitoring of the Environment for Sustainable Development (AMESD)
  • Monitoring for Environment and Security in Africa (MESA)
  • Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES and Africa)
  • Satellite and Weather Information for Disaster Resilience in Africa (SAWIDRA)

As the organisation responsible for Europe’s operational meteorological satellites, EUMETSAT cooperates closely with DG DEVCO and plays a key role in those projects.

For more information on DG DEVCO, please visit the website.

Horizons 2020

DG RTD is responsible for EU policy on research, science and innovation, with a view to help create growth and jobs and tackle the biggest societal challenges.

DG RTD funds excellent research and innovation programmes, currently through Horizon 2020. This framework programme includes a budget for space research, providing funding for research and development activities. The Commission’s next programme, Horizon Europe, will be an ambitious research and innovation programme to succeed Horizon 2020.

DG RTD is also responsible for the EC’s contribution to the intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations (GEO) initiative and to its secretariat.

EUMETSAT supports and/or participates in a number of projects funded by the EU’s Framework Programme for Research and Development.

For more information on DG RTD, please visit the website.


The JRC 's mission is to provide customer-driven scientific and technical support to Union policies, while flexibly responding to new policy demands. It is the EC's in-house science service, which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy. Additionally, the JRC is a key player in supporting successful investment in knowledge and innovation foreseen by the Horizon 2020 programme for research and innovation.

The JRC also provides scientific support for sustainable development in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and is a partner in the Monitoring for Environment and Security in Africa (MESA) programme.

EUMETSAT has established a Collaboration Agreement with the JRC. The general objective of this Agreement is to reinforce the links between the operational capabilities of EUMETSAT and the research capacities of the JRC. This is for the benefit of monitoring climate change and the environment, environmental status, natural resource condition and use, natural hazards, energy, humanitarian assistance and trade, for the efficiency of support to developing countries, and for the benefit of their respective contributions to the definition and implementation of the European Space Policy (including Copernicus).

The JRC is a user of EUMETSAT data and products, including EUMETCast; EUMETSAT’s system used to disseminate data and products for use by the ACP group of states.

For more information on the JRC, please visit the website.


DG ENV formulates environmental legislation and ensures that agreed measures are put into practice in EU Member States.

Its objective is to protect, preserve and improve the environment for present and future generations. To achieve this, it proposes policies that ensure a high level of environmental protection in the European Union and that preserve the quality of life of EU citizens. DG ENV makes sure that Member States correctly apply EU environmental law, and has the power to take legal action if it seems that EU environmental law has been infringed.

A key piece of legislation is the INSPIRE Directive, which aims to create a European Union infrastructure for the exchange of space-observed data for environmental purposes and to provide users with integrated spatial information services linked by common standards and protocols. The Directive came into force on 15 May 2007 and will be implemented in various stages, with full implementation required by 2021.

DG ENV also oversees the activities of the European Environment Agency (EEA), which aims to support sustainable development and achieve significant and measurable improvements in Europe's environment through the provision of timely, targeted, relevant and reliable information to policy-makers and the general public.

For more information on DG ENV, please visit the website.

climate action logo

DG CLIMA was established in February 2010, and leads the EC’s efforts to fight climate change at an EU and international level.

Its mission consists of formulating and implementing climate policies and strategies to meet its climate targets of 2020, 2030 and beyond, and taking a leading role in international negotiations on climate in bi- and multi-lateral partnerships. Furthermore, DG CLIMA is tasked with implementing the EU's Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) by building a global carbon trading market and with monitoring national emissions by EU member countries. Promoting low-carbon technologies and adaption measures is another important mission of DG CLIMA.

For more information on DG CLIMA, please visit the website.

EU logistics

The Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE) is responsible for the development and implementation of EU transport policies. Its mission is to ensure that transport policies are designed for the benefit of all sectors of society. DG MOVE carries out these tasks using legislative proposals and programme management, including the financing of projects.

The Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE) delivers the EC’s political priorities in the areas of fisheries and maritime law and affairs. The mission of DG MARE is to develop the potential of the European maritime economy and to secure sustainable fisheries, a stable supply of seafood, healthy seas and prosperous coastal communities. This involves formulating, developing and implementing the Common Fisheries Policy and the Integrated Maritime Policy.

Other Directorates-General run various activities in fields relevant to some of EUMETSAT’s own activities, including the use of EUMETSAT products for agriculture and rural development, telecommunication technologies for dissemination of data, and international relations. These Directorates-General include:

  • the Directorate-General for Energy (DG ENER)
  • the Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development (DG AGRI)
  • the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO)

EUMETSAT also routinely monitors the policies issued by other Directorates-General to assess the extent to which EUMETSAT satellite data and products could contribute to the implementation of these policies. EUMETSAT regularly participates in consultation processes initiated by the EC in areas relevant to EUMETSAT’s mandate.