Commission files the PSI Directive amendment until 2012

The European Commission has published a report making a review on the implementation of Public Sector Information (PSI) Directive, which highlights the potential for reuse of this information in the digital age. European PSI market is estimated to represent about 27 billion Euro, although its potential has not been fully exploited since the implementation of the Directive has been uneven across Member States.

Public Sector Information (PSI) is the single largest source of information in Europe, including data such as maps and satellite images, legislation and case-law, statistics and company, population and patent registers.

The value of the EU PSI market is estimated at 27 billion euro, which is four times the EU market for mobile roaming services. This shows the central role of public sector content in the digital age as a driver of economic activity. A further increase in the use of this resource will therefore directly contribute to the EU’s goals of increasing competitiveness and creating more jobs.

The PSI Directive was adopted in November 2003, aiming at harmonising basic conditions for making PSI available to re-users, in a bid to foster Community-wide products and services based on PSI and to avoid distortions of competition. According to the report progress has been made since its adoption: commercial re-use of PSI has been allowed, monopolies have been broken, fair trading conditions have been introduced, prices have decreased and there is more transparency. However, the Commission points out that progress and implementation of the Directive in the Member states is still uneven.

The PSI Directive was implemented by many Member states with considerable delay. The prohibition of exclusive arrangements only became fully applicable as from January 1st 2009. Therefore, the Directive in its present form has not yet had its full impact.

For this reason the Commission does not intend to propose amendments to the Directive at this point. The Commission will carry out a further review at the latest in 2012 when more evidence on the impact, effects and application of the Directive should be available and will communicate the results to the European Parliament and to the Council. Legislative amendments will be considered at that stage if the potential of re-use is still being hampered.

In making up this report and reaching its conclusions, the Commission consulted the Member states and stakeholders on the implementation and future steps about PSI Directive. The respondents consider that the PSI Directive has had positive effects on PSI re-use. However, both stakeholders and Member states indicate that the full potential of PSI re-use has not yet been realised. Public sector bodies lack awareness of their responsibilities and opportunities, and private companies have limited knowledge of their rights and the availability of PSI.

Future Commission's key actions on PSI Directive

  • Closely monitor implementation and application of the Directive
  • Scrutinise exclusive arrangements (2009-10) in particular
  • Analyse the economic case for marginal costs
  • Encourage exchange of good practices (proactive re-use policies, public tasks, conflict resolution)
  • Further review by 2012, accompanied where appropriate by a proposal for amendments to the Directive