European Commission Event on UAP – The Historical EU Context

On March 20, a long-awaited meeting was held at the European Parliament to present the UFO/UAP phenomenon and reasons for an interest and involvement of European institutions, coordinated by Portuguese MEP Francisco Guerreiro.


Published 2024-03-21 at 10:45

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On March 20, from 4 to 6 p.m., a long-awaited meeting was held at the European Parliament to present the UFO/UAP phenomenon and reasons for an interest and involvement of European institutions, coordinated by Portuguese MEP Francisco Guerreiro.
Five invited speakers illustrated the various aspects of the phenomenon and its study, with references to official U.S. commissions and flight safety issues, as pointed out by the two pilots speaking there.

This was a historic event for private European ufology, which was able to present itself at the highest institutional level and emerge from the halo of discredit that has long surrounded it.
Clearly, this is a first, small step towards concrete collaborations, constant and coordinated involvements. But the importance of the event is evident and, more than the recent hearing at the House of Representatives in the U.S., it brings to mind the famous session at the United Nations in 1978, with the active presence of ufologists Allen Hynek and Jacques Vallée.
There will be more detailed reports and comments about those presentations and the following debate, in the next days. As of now, here you can read the text of Edoardo Russo's one, who summarized the history and situation of UAP in Europe from the perspective of civilian ufologists, under the headings of EuroUfoNet and UAP Check.

Gian Paolo Grassino
Centro Italiano Studi Ufologici

Edoardo Russo's Speech

UAPs are not just an American phenomenon. It’s always been a global phenomenon, with sightings and testimonies from all over the world. Europe has always been in a central position as of sighting reports, even before the American public discovered “flying saucers” in the summer of 1947. The first post-war wave of unidentified aerial sightings were the “ghost rockets” over Scandinavia (but also Italy and Greece) in 1946.

And there are a lot of European witnesses: we are talking of millions of people. Opinion polls asking “do you think you saw a UFO” in different European countries obtained an average of 6.5% answering “yes”, which amounts to as many as 29 millions for just the European Union.

Not all witnesses are reporting their sightings: our estimates are that less than 1 witness in 100 is stepping forth and reporting his/her sighting, since the databases of case histories collected by civilian UAP organizations are presently comprising about 170,000 reports (which is a higher total than similar data collections in the USA), from Portugal to Ukraine, from Norway to Malta.

Unidentified Aerial Phenomena are not regular in their apparitions: sighting reports are coming in waves, with rich and poor years. The first large wave of sightings was in the spring of 1950 and was a really European one, hitting several countries (Belgium, Italy, Spain, UK). An even greater “UAP panic” took place in the autumn of 1954, with thousands of cases centered mainly over France and an unprecedented media hype. In 1967 it was the UK, in 1968 Spain, in 1973 Italy, in 1974 France, and so on: important waves of UAP sightings took place in most European countries along the last 75 years. My own country, Italy, suffered such a strong “UAP wave” in late 1978 that fishermen refused to go out fishing, police patrols were sent out photographing strange lights, Parliamentary questions were asked and the government charged the Italian Air Force to begin a formal collection of testimonies from the public.

Even if 90-95% of all those UAP phenomena are later identified and explained with known natural phenomena and man-made objects (which is precisely the grassroots activity of us “UAP investigators”), we are left with a small (yet not negligible) residue of anomalous cases, totalling thousands of UAPs in a strict sense on a European scale.

What are people seeing? The largest part of sightings are either of distant lights in the night sky (75%) or of distant daylight flying objects (15%), and these are the easiest ones to identify with known causes. But we also have got higher strangeness and higher credibility reports as close encounters (10%); sightings by military, civilian or private pilots in flight (1%); temporary physical effects or ground traces (2%); radar

And there are social side-effects, which have been the object of academic studies by psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists. Even if can’t talk here and now of some real panic situations, we are left with a great number of people wondering what they saw, who have a right to an answer (if there is one) but cannot find anybody officially charged to give one to them, and are crushed between those telling them “you were drunk” and those believing it’s extraterrestrial visitors. It’s only the private organizations that take charge of
those people and their testimonies, trying to find and offer those answers to witnesses. They are unpaid volunteers who are doing that for passion. There are a few hundreds of serious-minded private researchers who try to apply a scientific approach within the European Union. And there are dozens of rational associations of them, one in nearly every European country, some of them having been active for decades, most of them cooperating within a European UFO network. BTW, the largest existing UAP archives in the world are hosted in a European country: Sweden.

The military have traditionally been collecting UFO/UAP reports within their proper mission of controlling and defending each nation airspace. Most if not all European countries have had its own military archives of (mostly military) reports, just like in the USA. And a dozen of them declassified or opened their UAP Files in part or in total, which amounted to several thousands of reports now available.

As for non-military yet government organizations collecting and analyzing UAP reports, the only one, not just in Europe but in the world, is in France: the National Space Study Center (CNES) created a Study Group on Unidentified Airspace Phenomena (GEPAN, now GEIPAN) in 1977 and it’s not only still active but offering precisely that service to the French public: collecting their testimonies and trying to identify the causes, offering those answers to the public.

What about politics? It has been involved, of course, since the beginning: Parliamentary questions were asked in most European countries, since at least 1950. And the European Parliament got its own share of them, too. The most extensive involvement here was after an impressive wave of “flying triangles” sightings took place in Belgium, and a deputy from that country (Elio Di Rupo) obtained that an investigation was started within the Committee on Energy, Research and Technology, which charged a famous scientist and MEP, Tullio Regge, to do that work and prepare a proposal, between 1991 and 1993. His proposal for a resolution was to give French GEPAN a European status, but some political objections and too low a political interest took to no action then and no concrete involvement of the European Parliament.
Until now.

A larger version of the text with notes and full references may be downloaded from here.
A video recording of this presentation is available on YouTube here

Edoardo Russo

Edoardo Russo has a degree in economics and has worked as a tax consultant and chartered accountant. He has been actively involved in various Italian UFO organizations and has been on the editorial board of several international UFO publications. As a field investigator, Edoardo is author of hundreds of investigations on UFO sightings. As a writer, he published many articles in Italian and international UFO periodicals, as well as several chapters in books on UFOs. He is presently secretary of the Italian Center for UFO Studies (CISU), MUFON National Director, one of EuroUfo-net coordinators.