Commission opens public consultation on PSI reuse

Contributions to this consultation will feed into the review of the PSI Directive, part of the Digital Agenda for Europe that aims to contribute to the EU goals of increasing competitiveness, innovation and job creation. The consultation will run until 30 November 2010.

The Commission is aware that better and more use of public sector information (PSI) has great potential to generate new businesses and jobs and to provide consumers with more choice and more value for money. In fact public data that is reused, either for free or for a fee,  generates an estimated market turnover of at least 27 billion Euro in the EU every year, according to a 2006 study.

However, as Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, pointed out, much of Europe's PSI is insufficiently or even sometimes not exploited, which means losing out a great opportunity to generate innovation.

For that reason, the Commission has decided to revise whether and how the EU rules on re-use of PSI should be amended to fully unlock PSI's economic potential. Within this revision of the PSI Directive, which was already postponed in 2009, the Commission has now decided to launch a public consultation to gather interested parties points of view.

Through the on-line consultation on the PSI Directive, all interested parties are invited to send their views on key issues of PSI re-use and, in particular, on possible amendments to the provisions of the current Directive. These relate to the scope, charging fees and licensing of data, the definition and digital format available to users; practical measures like the need for awareness-raising through national web portals; and the effects of changes that have taken place and/or barriers that still exist.

Public Sector Information (PSI) and its re-use

EU PSI Directive, adopted November 2003, regulates the behaviour of public sector bodies participating in the market for re-use of public data and encourages EU countries to adopt proactive PSI re-use policies. The Directive has helped to remove some of the barriers to re-use, such as monopoly positions of public sector bodies or lack of transparency in the market for re-usable public data.

The Commission concluded that the 2003 Directive in its present form has not yet achieved its full impact and decided to run a further review at the latest in 2012, when more evidence on the impact, effects and application of EU rules on public sector information will be available. The results of the consultation will feed into the review.

The revision of the PSI Directive is one of the key actions of the Digital Agenda for Europe and within this revision process many initiatives have appeared such as expert meetings like the 2010 PSI meeting held in Madrid, or reactions from institutions such as the opinion of the Committee of the Regions on the PSI re-use.

In its policy strategy, the Commission highlighted that governments can stimulate content markets by making public sector information available on transparent, effective and non-discriminatory terms. This is an important source of potential growth of innovative on-line services.