Slovenia mulling full ESA membership

Paris, 23 May - Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek met with Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA) Johann-Dietrich Wörner on Thursday to discuss the possibility of Slovenia becoming a full-fledged member of the agency.

Slovenia has been an associate member since December 2016, with its membership being valid until 2021, the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology said in a press release.

In more than two years of associated membership, Slovenian companies signed with the ESA contracts for twelve projects worth a combined EUR 4 million. It also signed an additional four contracts with research organisations amounting to EUR 670,000.

Wörner described Slovenia as a successful ESA member, but pointed out that there was room for improvement including in optional programmes as well as in running business projects.

Slovenia is currently faced with two options - either it remains an associated member until 2021, or it requests an upgraded integration status, becoming a full member in 2023.

Počivalšek said the final decision had not been made yet but Slovenia was "approaching the goal" of becoming a full member, which would "create new opportunities for many Slovenian companies, not just in Europe but around the world".

The meeting was held on the margins of a ministerial of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris.