The Galileo satellite positioning system looks to be on track, following the successful launch of its first satellite, by 2008.
The Galileo project is an expression of the EU's wish to distance itself from the USA. Everyone is saying that Galileo will be more accurate thanthe US's GPS system, and how Galileo will be run by a commercial consortium, as opposed to the military. This is specious; Galileo will be used for military purposes every bit as much as GPS, and given that the governments of China, Israel and Argentina are involved, alongside the EU, the question of control over the system is never likely to be resolved. Presumably each of those countries will have some measure of control over the system.
What is likely is that if the armies of European countries start using Galileo (instead of GPS), they will be compromised in their effectiveness at fighting alongside US troops, as they will need to use both systems - a recipe duplication and confusion.
Galileo, indeed, can only be used against US troops, not alongside them. Whilst this might not prove problematic for the French or Chinese governments, it is likely to be more controversial in countries like Britain or Holland, which do not base their foreign policies purely on aggressive anti-Americanism.
EducationGuardian.co.uk Research Europe's space race with US begins