General need for action
Digital data is an essential resource for economic growth, competitiveness, innovation, job creation and societal progress in general.
The EU needs to ensure that data flows across borders and sectors. This data should be accessible and reusable by most stakeholders in an optimal way. A coordinated European approach is essential for the development of the data economy, as part of the Digital Single Market strategy.
- looks at the rules and regulations impeding the free flow of data and present options to remove unjustified or disproportionate data location restrictions, and
- outlines legal issues regarding access to and transfer of data, data portability and liability of non-personal, machine-generated digital data.
The European Commission has launched a public consultation and dialogue with stakeholders on these topics to gather further evidence. This process will help identify future policy or legislative measures that will unleash Europe's data economy.
The development of the European Data economy is one of the three emerging challenges identified in the mid-term review. The actions to be implemented are:
- to prepare a legislative proposal on the EU free flow of data cooperation framework (autumn 2017)
- to prepare an initiative on accessibility and re-use of public and publicly funded (spring 2018)
In addition, the Commission will continue its work on liability and other emerging data issues.
For more details, read the Communication.
Facing the challenge
Removing data localisation restrictions: the free flow of data
Free flow of data means the freedom to process and store data in electronic format anywhere within the EU. It is necessary for the development and use of innovative data technologies and services.
In order to achieve the free flow of data, the European Commission will collect more evidence on data location restrictions and assess their impacts on businesses, especially SMEs and startups, and public sector organisations. The Commission will also discuss the justifications for and proportionality of those data location restrictions with Member States and other stakeholders. It will then take justified and appropriate follow-up actions, in line with better regulation principles, to address the issue.
Exploring the emerging issues relating to the data economy
The European Commission is currently defining, scoping and articulating the following issues in order to trigger and frame a dialogue with stakeholders:
- Non-personal machine-generated data need to be tradable to allow innovative business models to flourish, new market entrants to propose new ideas and start-ups to have a fair chance to compete.
- Data-driven technologies are transforming our economy and society, resulting in the production of ever-increasing amounts of data. This phenomenon leads to innovative ways of collecting, acquiring, processing and using data which can pose a challenge to the current legal framework.
- Access to and transfer of non-personal data, data liability, as well as portability of non-personal data, interoperability and standards are complex legal issues.
This consultation process will contribute to the policy choices taken by the European Commission in the future.
Stakeholder Dialogue Workshops
- EIP-AGRI Workshop on Data Sharing (4-5 April 2017).
- Webinar on data access and data sharing: the real impact on SMEs’ and start-ups' business models (29 May 2017).
- Workshop with Member States representatives on the emerging issues of the data economy (Brussels, 31 May 2017).
- Workshop on access, ownership and liability issues in manufacturing (Brussels, 6 June 2017).
- Workshop on data access and transfer with a focus on APIs and industrial data platforms (Brussels, 8 June 2017).
- Data Economy Workshop, Digital Assembly (Malta, 15 and 16 June 2017).
- Workshop on access to commercially-held data of public interest for public bodies (Brussels, 26 June 2017).
Communication and staff working documents
- Communication on Building a European Data Economy
- Staff Working Document on Building a European Data Economy
- Facsheet on Building a European Data Economy
- Study on Measuring the economic impact of cloud computing in Europe
- Study on Facilitating cross border data flow in the DSM
- Intermediary study on Cross-border data flow in the Digital Single Market: data location restrictions
- Speech from Commissioner Oettinger at the Conference "Building European Data Economy" (17 October 2016).
- Speech from Vice-President Ansip at the Digital Assembly 2016, "Europe should not be afraid of data" (29 September 2016).