Neelie KROES
Vice-President of the European Commission

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Europeana – a digital breeding ground for innovation

Today Europeana kicks off an event in the Netherlands – to gather together material relating to the period 1914-18.

EU unlocks a great new source of online innovation

Today the European Parliament voted to formally agree new rules on open data - effectively making a reality of the proposal which I first put forward just over 18 months ago, and making it easier to open up huge amounts of public sector data.  This is about the data that public authorities can lawfully put out there – a huge wealth of information about your public services, how administrations are spending your tax euros, geographical or cultural information, and the like. There's a huge benefit to opening up. Once information is out there, there is so much you can do with it. Today many of you are familiar with apps that tell you where you are and where you need to go – based on public data from Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites. But it goes beyond that: the boost from easier access is of the order tens of billions of euros. In short, this is an amazing raw material for innovation; we're basically sitting on a goldmine.

Bringing Europe's cultural treasures to a new generation

Imagine you have gold in a vault but you forgot where the key is.  In times of crisis, there are not many treasures that Europe can use to boost growth and prosperity. There is one treasure we have however in Europe, for which we need a new digital key: our cultural heritage – the many millions of historical artefacts and works of art which sit in Europe's museums, galleries, and libraries - which is unparalleled across the world.
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