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The 141st meeting of the Council of the European Space Agency, and the eighth at Ministerial Level, took place on 11 and 12 May at the Palais d’Egmont in Brussels. Belgium hosted the meeting at the invitation of Mr Yvan Ylieff, the Belgian Minister for Science Policy and Chairman of the previous Council Meeting at Ministerial Level. During the opening session, Mr Ylieff handed over the Chair to Lord David Sainsbury, the UK Minister responsible for space. In addition to the 13 European Ministers and representatives of the Irish and Canadian Ministers present, representatives from Portugal, the European Commission, Eutelsat, Eumetsat and the European Space Science Committee attended as observers. Three European Commissioners – for Industry, Research and Transport – also participated in the meeting. The main objective of this Ministerial Council was to shape a space policy that will allow Europe to continue to play a major role in space activities on the world stage. The Ministers responsible for space activities in the Agency’s Member States were asked to endorse ESA’s new strategy and its role in working with national players, intergovernmental organisations, European Union institutions and industry in order to respond to the challenges of the next millennium. They were also asked to decide, in the context of ESA’s Long-Term Plan for the period 1999-2006, on new programmes spanning the fields of space science, access to space (launchers), space applications(Earth observation, telecommunications and navigation), exploitation of the International Space Station and advanced technology. They were also called upon to decide on a Level of Resources for the period 1999-2003 for the Agency’s Mandatory Activities.