The European Union’s council of member states gave its final green light to regulation paving the way for the launch of its own secure satellite-enabled communications services by 2027.

In a statement, the European Council explained it had given its blessing to the Secure Connectivity Programme for 2023 to 2027, which sets goals for the deployment of the Infrastructure for Resilience, Interconnectivity and Security by Satellite (IRIS2) project.

IRIS2 is a proposed satellite constellation designed to deliver highly-secure, low-latency communications services and carries a budget of €2.4 billion.

Once complete it is set to cover the European Union and other areas deemed of strategic interest including the Arctic and parts of Africa.

Use cases floated by European authorities include protection of critical infrastructure, surveillance, backing for “external action” and crisis management. The system will use quantum cryptography, a method claimed to be able to secure and transmit data “in a way that cannot be hacked”.

The plan was drafted by the European Commission and has already been approved by the European Parliament.

Following the decision by the European Council today (7 March), the final document needs to be signed-off by the presidents of the latter two bodies before being published in the Official Journal of the European Union. It will come into force three days later.