Brazil may be about to buy into the controversial European satellite navigation system, Galileo, despite misgivings from their neighbor to the north, the United States.
The EUobserver has learned that Brasilia is currently weighing up its participation in the 3.2 billion euro project which is due to be launched in 2008. Although no formal decision has yet been made, according to Brazilian diplomats the visit to Brazil by European Commissioner for External Relations, Chris Patten, may result in an announcement. Patten will meet with the Brazilian president, foreign minister and defense minister this week as part of a three-country tour of South America.
The satellite system has caused controversy in Washington because it uses some of the same frequencies as the U.S. military system known as GPS (Global Positioning System). Backers of Galileo say that the system will provide a more accurate and reliable alternative to GPS. The 30 satellites which make up Galileo will be under civilian control and so will be able to offer uninterrupted service.