The agency has also been affected by delays to Ariane 6, which is planned to replace the successful Ariane 5.
The maiden flight of Ariane 6 was originally scheduled for 2020, but it has now been pushed to the end of 2023.
For Ariane 6 and the smaller Vega-C, "the allocation of funding will be commensurate to the commercial risks taken" to ensure their long-term competitiveness, the ministers said.
The three countries also proposed allowing the ESA to use European-made micro and mini launch systems—which are currently being developed by Germany and France.
The final decision on a way forward would be agreed by December 2023, the statement said.
Daniel Neuenschwander, ESA's director of space transportation, told AFP that "we are very happy with this joint declaration because it makes it possible to create the conditions" to obtain the necessary funding for the launcher programmes at the end of the council.
He also said the declaration means the countries recognise the "interdependence in the programmes where they have joint interests," whether for the France-led Ariane 6, Italy-led Vega-C, or micro and mini launchers being promoted by Germany.
Calls for European unity
The ESA is asking its member states to contribute 18.5 billion euros to fund space programmes over the next three years—an increase of more than 25 percent from the previous amount.
At the opening of the council on Tuesday, ESA director-general Josef Aschbacher said "whatever science and technology we aim for can only flourish in a healthy economic environment".
Aschbacher told the ministers that their countries would derive huge economic benefits from fundings the ESA space programmes.
While the space industry now represents around 340 billion euros, it would reach around one trillion euros by 2040, he said.
The budget decision, expected to be announced on Wednesday, comes amid rising competition from China and other nations, and well as from private companies such as SpaceX.
France's economy minister Le Maire called for Europe to "be united" in space.
"At the end of these discussions, there must be a single Europe, a single European space policy and unfailing unity in the face of Chinese ambitions and American ambitions," he said at the council meeting.
"There is a price for independence. If we want to be independent, we have to put money on the table."
© 2022 AFP