Reported in The Week, issue 25 September 2021, page 31, this letter on the Letters page under the title ‘France can’t complain’
To The Times
One suspects the origins of this rift over submarine contracts lie in the EU decision to exclude the UK from the Galileo GPS system as part of the Brexit deal. Not only was an investment of more than £1bn lost, but the UK will need to find another GPS system for military use. France should not be surprised if the UK becomes a competitor to the EU in military matters.
Roger Downing, Whitchurch, Devon
Is there substance to what Mr Downing says? It seems there is from what I read about the Galileo project in Wikipedia. This is a extract of the relevant parts from the Wikipedia entry for Galileo
“Galileo is a global navigation satellite system (GNSS) that went live in 2016, created by the European Union through the European Space Agency (ESA), operated by the European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA), headquartered in Prague, Czech Republic, with two ground operations centres in Fucino, Italy, and Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany.
In March 2018, the European Commission announced that the United Kingdom may be excluded from parts of the project (especially relating to the secured service PRS) following its exit from the European Union. As a result, Airbus will relocate work on the Ground Control Segment (GCS) from its Portsmouth premises to an EU state. British officials sought legal advice on whether they could reclaim the €1.4 billion invested by the United Kingdom, of the €10 billion spent on the project.
In a speech at the EU Institute for Security Studies conference, the EU Chief Negotiator in charge of the Brexit negotiations, Michel Barnier, stressed the EU position that the UK had decided to leave the EU and thus all EU programmes, including Galileo. In August 2018, it was reported the UK would look to create a competing satellite navigation system to Galileo post-Brexit. In December 2018, the then British Prime Minister Theresa May announced that the UK would no longer seek to reclaim the investment, and Science Minister Sam Gyimah resigned over the matter.