The Questioning of the Non-appropriation Principle in Outer Space and the EU

Antonella Forganni

The European Space Policy is evolving, new competences have been integrated in the EU's institutional framework and new activities already on-going or planned in the space sector demonstrate the great potential of this domain. The development of space tourism has attracted significant investments that will facilitate the further development of space exploration. Concurrently, the progressive reduction of available resources on our planet, as well as the increasing needs, especially in terms of energy sources, urge for new solutions to assure a sustainable development. The space industry is flourishing and from different sides the principle of non-appropriation in outer-space, one of the pillars of International Space Law, is questioned, leading to a heated debate in the international community. The free exploitation of space resources is very attractive, but the non-appropriation principle is established to protect fundamental values that are globally shared. In this context, what is the position of the EU? What are the interests at stake and the connections of this principle with the values enshrined in the Treaties? The general objective of this paper is to understand to what extent the EU can play a role in the international community standing up for the principle of non-appropriation.

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