Responses from the Member States on how to model the European Strategy for Data
The Data Governance Act
On 25 November 2020, The European Commission published the Data Governance Act (DGA) in response to the public consultation on the European Strategy for Data. The consultation served as a means to gauge stakeholders’ opinions on the data strategy (including open data, data sharing and data spaces), and as input for several planned initiatives around access to, and re-use of, data. A legislative framework on common European data spaces and an implementing act on a list of high-value datasets under the Open Data Directive was part of the consultation as well.
This featured highlight will explore what the results of the public consultation are and delve into the Open Data Directive.
Consultation on the European Strategy for Data
The EU Public Consultation on the European Strategy for Data received contributions from various stakeholders, including SMEs, EU citizens, business associations, academia, research institutes, as well as public authorities. Results from the consultation fall into four categories:
- The data strategy, of which 97.2% of the 806 respondents confirmed that the EU needs an overarching data strategy to enable the digital transformation of society, with 91.5% agreeing to the following statement:
“More data should be available for the common good, for example for improving mobility, delivering personalized medicine, reducing energy consumption and making our society greener.”
- Data governance, including data standardisation, secondary use of data, data donation and data intermediaries. 772 of the 806 respondents answered this section. 90% of the 772 consider data governance mechanisms necessary to capture the enormous potential of data, particularly for cross-sector data use.
- High-value datasets, with some 761 of the 806 respondents contributed to this section. 82.2% of these respondents answered that a list of high value datasets (available free of charge, with no restrictions and accessible via application programme interfaces) are a good way to ensure that public sector data can have a positive impact on the EU economy and society. High-value datasets are those with a high commercial potential and the ability to accelerate the development of value-increasing information products across the EU.
- The (self-/co-) regulatory context of cloud computing, where 61% of respondents state that the current cloud market offers technological solutions that businesses need to continue growing and innovating. However, 48% of 444 stakeholders answered that at one point they have experienced problems in the functioning of the cloud market, and 68% of 449 stakeholders expect risks for the future. Going forward, 59% of responding users and 64% of responding providers state that self-regulation is appropriate to identify best practices to implement EU legislation around cloud computing.
The Open Data Directive
As part of the European Strategy for Data, the Open Data Directive functions as a common legal framework for government-held data (public sector information) and is geared towards two key concepts in the European market: i.e. transparency and fair competition. This directive will be put in place on the national level over the course of the next years and will ultimately:
- Stimulate the publication of dynamic data and the uptake of Application Programme Interfaces (APIs);
- Reduce the exceptions that now enable public bodies to charge more than marginal costs of dissemination for data re-use;
- Extend the scope of the directive to include data held by public undertakings, under a specific set of rules and research data resulting from public funding; and
- Strengthen the transparency requirements for agreements involving public sector information between public and private parties, thereby avoiding exclusive deals.
Furthermore, the directive includes the adoption of a free-of-charge list of high-value datasets by the Commission. The consultation indicates that the need for these types of datasets is high among stakeholders. They will be labelled within a specific thematic categorisation in the Annex to the directive and act as the building blocks for Artificial Intelligence solutions.
High-value datasets will become a more prevalent topic over the next years and the Digital Governance Act as well as the Open Data Directive provide an initial framework for their arrival and implementation.