The Galileo Operating company (GOC) expected to operate the Galileo satellite navigation system was incorporated today following a meeting of the European Union’s (EU) council of transport minsters on 22 March.

Last week the GOC’s predecessor, the Merged Consortium, had been given a 10 May deadline by the EU transport minsters to demonstrate progress in enabling Galileo contract negotiations to advance.

Galileo programme sources had told Flight that the lack of a single negotiating representative for the Merged Consortium had seriously hindered progress.

“We have officially incorporated today,” GOC interim chief executive Jean-Francois Bou told Flight.

The transport ministers also decided that the European Commission (EC) must work with the Galileo partners, the European Space Agency and the European GNSS Supervisory Authority (GSA) to submit, by June, an overall progress report and the project's likely final cost and financing, along with alternative scenarios for Galileo cost and risk assessments.

These could include a decision to abandon the public/private partnership financing structure for Galileo, agreed at the Nice European Council summit in December 2000.

The ministers also tasked the EC to provide solutions for the earliest possible provision of European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Services (EGNOS), which had been due to start this month.