As great power politics returns to the world stage, so does space policy. States that can afford to are funnelling money into their space programmes in pursuit of everything from space-based weaponry to technological development, research, and communications. The European Union, in a bid to become the leading space actor, has also launched a flurry of projects and established both an operational agency and a specialised directorate-general for its space policy.
Over the past two decades, the European Union (EU) has intensely recalibrated its strategies to fulfil its mission of promoting peace and security and guaranteeing democracy, rule of law, freedoms, human rights, and equality to its citizens. Given the increase in non-conventional threats in the cyber, hybrid, and “cybrid” domains, the EU has started to strengthen its response to this changing security environment. In this context, technological change has become the main character in a society whose governments, economies, people, and armies are highly dependent on hyper-connectivity and impacted by it. The technological transition has transformed how enemies attack their counterparts, fostering digital rivalries and tighter industry competition. To this end, the Union has recently launched the EU’s Secure Connectivity Programme (2023-2027), which encloses the third EU constellation of strategic space infrastructures called IRIS2. The latter, inter alia, has been designed to foster strategic autonomy in the Union, thereby reducing foreign dependencies. It is fundamental for the Union to enhance its ability to respond and counter cyber challenges with a comprehensive and collaborative approach, as individual and protectionist actions from the Member States obstruct the achievement of a higher degree of strategic autonomy in the technological and defence arenas.