Art. - The ESA Procurement Process: at the crossroad of political 
mandates and industrial realities


At the end of the Conference of Plenipotentiaries, held in Paris on 30 May 1975, the Convention for the establishment of a European Space Agency was opened for signature by the Member States of the European Space Conference, until 31 December 1975.

The Final Act of the Conference of Plenipotentiaries and the associated Resolutions established the conditions for signature of the Convention and for the functioning of the European Space Agency.

1. Introduction

On 30 May 1975, the Convention was signed by: the Federal Republic of Germany, the Kingdom of Belgium, the Kingdom of Denmark, Spain, the French Republic, the Italian Republic, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Kingdom of Sweden, and the Swiss Confederation.

The Convention entered into force on 30 October 1980.

The European Space Agency is an inter-governmental organisation, which thus enjoys legal personality. It counts today 20 Member States: 18 states of the EU (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Finland, France, Italy, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Poland, Romania, Sweden, United Kingdom) plus Norway and Switzerland. Estonia and Hungary are about to join.

Six other EU states have Cooperation Agreements with ESA: Slovenia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta and the Slovak Republic. Bulgaria is negotiating a Cooperation Agreement. Discussions are-on-going with Croatia.

Finally, Canada takes part in some programmes under a long-standing Cooperation Agreement.

Article II of the ESA…

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