In the last 20 years, the Copernicus programme has changed the landscape of EO in Europe. It has built on the outcomes of scientific missions to design and implement operational missions to guarantee state-of-the-art global EO monitoring capacities for Europe. It has also financed R&D projects to turn the data and information produced into leading EO services that can be used for a wide range of applications. By the end of 2017, Copernicus six services should be fully operational, and the first three sentinels should be fully deployed. An incomplete estimation of the funds invested by the EU and ESA in Copernicus’ since 2002 reaches a total of €7 billion with about €5.3 billion for the development of the sentinels (see Table 3).
Copernicus also had the effect of streamlining efforts in EO at the European level, avoiding duplications. The ex-post evaluation of the PAs and GMES initial programme confirmed the EU added value of Copernicus, acknowledging that no single EU country could have implemented such a programme. Copernicus also guarantees: a higher level of continuity of service; a full-scale, permanent screen of sensors in space; harmonised data and technology; and free and open access that reduces the costs for the users.