A very tangible example of a European cross-border interoperability solution is e-CODEX, which aims to digitalise justice throughout the EU. It is built on open source technical components, allowing its use and link to every national system. Thanks to that, interoperability is improved between legal authorities, allowing them to cooperate across borders. This is European interoperability tech in action.
The vast majority of solutions for cross-border interoperability are open source as it gives the user access to the source code. With this comes the understanding of how the solution works, which allows other organisations (or individual developers) to create interoperable solutions. It is important to keep in mind that there is more to interoperability than the solution itself, or, for that matter, open source.
This is made clear by the recent Strasbourg Declaration which puts interoperability high up among its priorities. The Ministers underscore the important role of open source software in making digital services interoperable by default. The declaration also takes a broader view of interoperability as the Ministers want to “foster interoperability at all levels”. This also includes institutional collaboration through “promotion of the joint work of the network of Chief Information Officers ("CIO Network") of the Member States”, and the “development of a new strategy of the European Public Administration Network (EUPAN) for the June 2022 – June 2025 period”.
Interoperability and open source uptake is about more than just the technology. This was emphasised by the launch of the World Health Organization’s Open Source Programme Office (OSPO). The WHO recognises that interoperability and sharing and reuse are important elements for realising the Sustainable Development Goals. In their view, “OSPOs can be sustainable vehicles to create new and surface existing DPGs, which can reduce duplication of efforts in humanitarian crises and maximise funding.”
It is fair to say that interoperability, open source and open standards make for much smoother European and international collaboration.
The OSOR team