The European Union's Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot has called the planned Galileo satellite navigation system "a tool of sovereignty for Europe," a French newspaper reported Sunday.
"We can no longer live in a world that is more and more dependent on global positioning while remaining reliant on one single American system. It is evident, Galileo is a tool of sovereignty for Europe," Barrot told the Le Journal du Dimanche, the dpa reported.
A second satellite for the system was launched early Sunday from the Russian space centre in Baikonur, Kazakhstan.
It is planned that the system will be in operation by 2013 with a network of 30 satellites and several Earth stations.
European governments hope the Galileo system can gain a foothold in commercial and consumer applications against the US-operated Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite network.
The system will strengthen the EU's autonomy and is a step towards "complete independence," Barrot said.