The Commission seeks views on how to improve accessibility and re-use of public and publicly funded data, and also considers access to and use of privately held data of public interest.
Welcoming the initiative, Vice-President Andrus Ansip said:
Wide availability of public and publicly funded data for re-use makes the EU and national institutions more transparent and efficient. Moreover, if public sector information is re-used and spread effectively across sectors and borders, it can strengthen our data economy, thus giving rise to new business models and jobs. This consultation will help us reflect on how to further spread an open data culture in the EU.
The Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel added:
Publicly funded data, such as statistics, meteorological data or research data, is a key resource for building new services and products. It also provides valuable raw material to address societal challenges such as climate change or migration. The Directive is our main instrument to bring out this potential and the consultation will allow us to assess whether it needs to be adapted to the developments in the wider data economy.
The Commission is launching the public consultation in the context of the review of the PSI Directive, fulfilling the periodic review obligation prescribed by the Directive. It is part of the initiative on accessibility and re-use of public and publicly funded data foreseen in the Mid-Term Review of the Digital Single Market strategy. It will also explore the issue of privately held data which are of public interest.
The consultation is divided into three parts:
- The first part concerns the evaluation of the implementation and functioning of the current EU legislative framework on the re-use of government data.
- The second part looks into the possible improvements of this framework for the future.
- The third part reflects the current discussion on the possibility to allow public sector bodies to access and use privately held data, whenever this would be justified by public interest considerations.
All interested parties, including governments, public sector data holders and users, commercial and non-commercial re-users, experts and academics as well as citizens are invited to share their views via the dedicated EU consultation portal until 12 December 2017.
The Directive on the re-use of public sector information (2003/98/EC) provides a common legal framework for a European market for government-held data (public sector information). It is built around two key pillars of the internal market: transparency and fair competition.
It focuses on the economic aspects of re-use of information and encourages the Member States to make as much information available for re-use as possible to foster data-based innovation. It addresses information held by public sector bodies in the Member States, at national, regional and local levels, such as ministries, state agencies, municipalities, as well as organisations funded for the most part by or under the control of public authorities (e.g. meteorological institutes). Since 2013, content held by museums, libraries and archives also falls within the scope of the Directive.
The Directive covers all types of content and information, be it written texts, databases, audio files or film fragments. It currently does not apply to the educational, scientific, and broadcasting sectors. The Directive has to be implemented in full respect of the legislation on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data.
Since 2015, the European Commission has funded the European Data Portal through the Connecting Europe Facility programme. This is a pan-European repository of public sector information open for reuse in the EU. This portal also offers a training centre on how to reuse open data and a database of success stories from European and international re-users.
The Commission leads by example, with a solid legal framework for the reuse of its own data , complemented by an EU Open Data Portal where you can find datasets from the Commission, as well as from the other EU institutions and agencies.