Satellite firm row deepens with Europe

High Street, Gosport.

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A ROW over the basing of a hi-tech satellite firm, which is likely to see 100 jobs in Portsmouth being moved to Europe, has intensified as the government announced new actions.

Whitehall has threatened to withhold security clearance for companies working on Europe’s Galileo satellite navigation system.

It is the latest salvo in a bitter tussle between Brussels and the UK over the multi-billion pound system, which has its ground control site – run by tech firm Airbus – based in Portsmouth.

The UK Space Agency has sent a letter to 13 British firms working on Galileo’s top secure elements, on behalf of business secretary Greg Clarke, reminding them they need the government’s security authorisation for any future work, the Financial Times has reported.

As previously reported, Brussels doesn’t want any part of the satellite built outside the EU after Brexit, which will see jobs in the city lost.