Open Source Observatory


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In the March issue
Open source for cross-border interoperability
Interoperability is at the heart of the European project itself. It takes real work and technological solutions, involving expertise and political will, to make sure that systems work together. Cross-border interoperability initiatives in the EU are focused on more than just digital systems being able to talk to each other: standards, law, physical infrastructure, payments, and human relationships are all part of European interoperability. The EU institutions make considerable effort making Europe interoperable. From the technological point of view, open source represents collectiveness and creation of software that can be used across borders.

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

Latest News
Cross-border justice going open source

The e-CODEX (e-Justice Communication via Online Data Exchange) tool was introduced in 2010 with the aim to connect the European e-justice community. With this tool, legal actions regarding properties, pensions, and e-commerce with a cross-border nature are easier to overcome.

The new Strasbourg Declaration

The Declaration on the Common values and challenges of European Public Administrations underlines an overarching support of open source and interoperability within the public sector.

WHO Builds an OSPO

The World Health Organization (WHO) is the first agency of the United Nations (UN) to launch a formal Open Source Programme Office (OSPO). The OSPO is already the norm for realising value from open source in the technology industry, more and more government organisations are now creating them.

Interoperability in EU healthcare cooperation

The Trans European Services for Telematics between Administrations (TESTA) is the data communication network service lying at the digital core of the EU4Health Programme, and interoperability is the key tool that makes it work.

Upcoming Events

OW2con’22 is a two day technical conference happening on 8-9 June 2022, providing an opportunity to network with peers and the international free software community as a whole. The central theme of OW2con this year is: "Reliable and Predictable Open Source Software".

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date 08/06/2022 - 09/06/2022
Solutions of the Month

Solution for improvement of online government services and information to end-users, with the integration of trusted open source technologies.


Open source platform aimed at supporting the digitalisation of administrative procedures with document management and transfer, web-based service-desk and an online services portal for communication between citizens and the public administration.

Gestionnaire Libre de Parc Informatique (GLPI)

Open source solution for IT office support, including features such as an interface for easy inventory of informatic equipment and software, and management of the data centers, licenses, and helpdesk incidents/requests.


Open source component for the creation of authorisation signatures for approved access to specific documents or web pages within units and offices.

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