I’ve seen the online calls for a single European licence for open data. I think they deserve a response: here it is.
You’ll know that open data is a cause close to my heart, and I welcome your initiative. You’ll be aware that back in December I put forward an ambitious legal proposal to unlock the goldmine and open up Europe’s public sector, through a system that would be cheaper, easier to use and wider in scope than current rules. In legal terms, these take the form of amendments to the Public Sector Information (PSI) Directive: that means they are proposed by the Commission, but then must be agreed by both the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers before becoming law – and indeed those bodies have already held initial discussions on this topic.
My priority is, in the first instance, to secure those legal changes.
But, in parallel to the legislative process, we will be working with stakeholders on guidelines for licensing open government data: and on a pan-European portal as a single point of access to all such data. There is strong convergence between the most recent open government data licences adopted in the UK, Denmark, France and Spain, which are already in line with the proposed amendments to the PSI Directive.
Our guidelines will represent European best practice. They will be voluntary rather than mandatory, allowing flexibility and updates. Discussions are already starting on both licensing and the portal – and in due course there will be a public consultation on the licensing guidelines: all those interested will be given an opportunity to contribute, and I hope many of you will do so.
In the meantime, I’m sure you will be very actively following the discussions on the PSI Directive amendments, as they go through the Council and European Parliament: rest assured that I and my services will be. I hope that we can open up Europe’s public sector, and stimulate a market which could boost our economy and provide so much interesting content for web developers and users.