Summary: SatCen is an EU agency providing EU institutions with Geospatial Intelligence from hired satellite time. It also trains analysts to EU SECRET level.
At stake: SatCen is, in effect, an autonomous embryonic EU intelligence agency. It also duplicates capability the UK gains from its US alliance or could buy off the market anyway and interpret for itself, quite possibly better.
What they say: “Third States mentioned in Article 20(3) of this Decision shall be entitled to: (a) submit national requests for imagery analysis to be implemented by SATCEN; (b) submit candidates for secondment as image analysts to SATCEN for a limited time; (c) have access to products and services of SATCEN in accordance with Article 5 of these provisions” – Council Decision 2014/401/CFSP, on NATO states’ right of access.
Exposure: UK participation, already limited, presently defaults to fall with Brexit. It remains financially liable for pensions etc both for its period as an EU entity and as a WEU one before that.
Action: Unlike a small EU state or the European External Action Service (EEAS), the UK does not need to be affiliated with this. Even if subsequently found to be useful (for example for an OSCE mission), it can ‘buy time’ if needed.