Neelie KROES
Vice-President of the European Commission

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Public Sector Information Directive

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.

Unlocking the goldmine: new legal proposals to open up Europe's public sector

Imagine we had a resource available that could stimulate new innovations, a market worth tens of billions of euros, and increase the transparency and governance of public life. We do – it's the data held by Europe's public institutions. And today I announced legal proposals to unlock this treasure trove. Benefiting not just web entrepreneurs, but journalists, academics, anyone who has a smartphone or uses public services.

The test site for the Commission's own data portal - going live 2012

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