According to Der Spiegel, relayed in an agency report, the cost of the EU's Galileo satellite navigation system is set to skyrocket.
Instead of costing the €3.4 billion budgeted by the EU commission, it will cost at least €5 billion and perhaps even €10 billion. Spiegel adds that a secret German government study concluded the overall cost would rise by €1.5 billion even under optimum conditions. Any delay or unforeseen technical difficulty would only add to the cost.
Furthermore, these figures had been drawn up by industry and EU budget experts only weeks after the 27 governments had agreed to go ahead with the scheme, using "surplus" CAP funds to finance the deal. And, to add to the general deceit, while the EU is maintaining that the development phase for the system is over and has been paid for, a Galileo expert said many technical problems had not been solved and the research would have to be paid for from the construction budget.
Interestingly, in a piece headed "Lie in the sky" written in November, we wrote that it looked like the EU was understating the costs of the Galileo project. We noted that the US was investing $1.8 billion in just eight satellites in the GPS III range, upgrading its own Navstar system.
That put the potential US costs for an upgrade rather than a whole new system in the €5 billion range – well above the €2.4 billion then slated for Galileo deployment - an entirely new system. And the Americans already have their ground station infrastructure in place.
Still, there should be no reason for surprise as this whole project has been dogged by lies and deceit – rather like the European Union itself – right from the very start. After all, the commission itself, in order to gain member state approval for the project, in 2001 gave its "solemn guarantee" that "no more public money would be needed after 2007".
As always, the truth is a dispensable product when la gloire of the Union is at stake. But, if experience is any guide, Galileo will suffer the same fate as the original la gloire (pictured). But, by then, the money will have been spent.