EUTELSAT - European Satellite Telecommunications Organization

The European Satellite Telecommunications Organization (EUTELSAT), is a global intergovernmental organization, born of the ''Interim EUTELSAT'' (Provisional European Telecommunications Satellite Organization), established under the ''Provisional Agreement'' entered into at Paris, on 13 May 1977. Portugal was one of the founding members of EUTELSAT.

This Organization was established mainly for the purpose of supplying the necessary space segments for the provision of international telecommunication services throughout Europe, including broadcasting services.

The Interim EUTELSAT structure consisted of the Assembly of States Parties, entrusted with the definition of the Organization's general policies and long-term objectives; the Council of Signatories, composed of representatives of signatories (operators) and responsible for the EUTELSAT space segments management; and an executive body, headed by the Director-General.

In 1997, a decision was taken towards restructuring the Organization, adapting it to the new regulatory conditions and to the new competitive environment. Thus, in this restructure context, and especially for commercial imperatives, the Organization was privatised in 2 July 2001, with the subsequent division in two different entities.

EUTELSAT's operational component was transferred to a public limited company - the Company EUTELSAT, S.A. - that assumed the management of the space segments as well as the responsibility for the four basic principles: public service/universal service obligations, pan-European coverage, non discrimination and fair competition.

Furthermore, EUTELSAT's intergovernmental organization remained, the functions thereof being limited to the supervision of the compliance with the basic principles on the part of the new enterprise.

The present structure of the EUTELSAT, which currently includes 48 States (Parties) encompasses the following bodies: the Assembly of Parties, which meets once every two years; the Secretariat, entrusted with executive functions and headed by the Executive Secretary; and the Advisory Committee, that supports the Executive Secretary.

The main instruments of the EUTELSAT are the Convention, which establishes the general principles and the respective structure (bodies and operation), the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities, that defines the privileges and immunities enjoyed by the organization in the performance of its duties and the Operating Agreement, which establishes the provisions for the use of the space segment and the form of funding participation of each signatory.

The amendments to the Convention establishing the restructure of the organization have entered into force on 28 November 2002, the Operating Agreement having expired on the same date.

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