Summary: Officials have warned that the European Space Agency will not succeed in pursuing its scientific programmes over the coming years if resources continue to be eroded. Meeting in Paris at the beginning of November, representatives of countries sitting on the Scientific Programme Committee - the fourteen members of the ESA minus Canada - agreed to issue a warning and demand the maintenance of in real terms of the allocation announced three years ago in Toulouse.

Despite the fact that many of its scientific missions (ISO, SOHO...) have exceeded all expectations, rivalling and in some cases even outstripping the United States, and with numerous missions scheduled for the coming years (the launch of the XMM telescope at the beginning of the year 2000, of the first two Cluster-II probes in June 2000, and of Mars-Express in 2003...), the ESA has and is continuing to seeing its budget slowly eroded in this area. Meeting in Toulouse in October 1995, European Ministers responsible for Space agreed a freeze on the ESA's scientific budget. Given annual inflation of...

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