OPP Meeting Summary: EP IMCO Committee – Re-use of public sector information (recast) (12 July 2018)

A summary of the consideration of the draft opinion is now available.

EP IMCO Committee – 12 July 2018
 Re-use of public sector information (recast)
– Consideration of draft opinion
View related documents and the next stage of the procedure in the Policy Pipeline

Rapporteur Julia Reda (Greens/EFA, DE) made the following opening remarks:

  • the goal of the Committee would be to ensure that the uptake of the information was as seamless as possible;
  • she wanted to reinforce the Commission’s proposal to restrict as much as possible the possibility for public administrations to charge money for access to public sector data. Costs often did not contribute to making the data accessible in the first place;
  • charging for public sector data also led to market concentration, as the number of companies who were able to pay for data was limited and civil society initiatives that depended on open data were excluded;
  • she mentioned the sale of public mapping data to Google as an example. It did not create a lot of revenue, and excluded initiatives such as Openstreetmap which could be a viable alternative to Google Maps;
  • she also suggested the creation of an Annex list of high value data sets which should be made available free of charge. She did not agree with the Commission’s proposal of doing this through a Delegated Act. She looked forward to amendments to further improve the Annex;
  • she also made suggestions on how these data sets from the Member State (MS) level could be best aggregated at the European level to ensure that pan-European bodies could access the data from a single point. She stated that in the first exploratory meeting with the Shadow Rapporteurs a discussion had taken place on whether this could be included in the single digital gateway;
  • common standards needed to be set for real-time access to dynamic data. Her amendment 18 established several quality criteria in this regard;
  • regarding licensing, she stated that administrations needed to be encouraged to use already existing and widely recognised licenses;
  • she also made a suggestion to change the name of the Directive to ‘Open Data Directive’. It could potentially increase the popularity of the tool with the public and encourage people to use it;
  • the main points of discussion had already been explored with the Shadow Rapporteurs in their first meeting. She stated that there was a general agreement for an Annex rather than a Delegated Act, but “intensive discussions” would have to take place on the content and charging of the Annex;
  • she hoped that the Council would be able to reach a general approach under the Austrian Presidency as it would give an opportunity to conclude the proposal under the current legislative period;
  • she would use the summer break to prepare the compromise amendments.

Shadow Rapporteurs

Sabine Verheyen (EPP, DE)

  • she welcomed the Commission’s proposal, and stated that it was a “rational reworking” of the Directive;
  • she thanked the Rapporteur for the draft opinion, but stated that there were some issues which would need to be further discussed to ensure a balanced approach;
  • subsidiarity was important for her group. Deciding what data sets should be made public should still be left to the discretion of the MS and the national public authorities;
  • there should not be a general obligation to publish all data;
  • regarding high value data sets, she also disagreed with the Commission’s Delegated Act proposal, and stated that the Parliament should have a political influence as well. However, it should still finally be a MS decision;
  • she stated that in discussions with public administrations, the issue of the considerable cost of the implementation of the Directive had repeatedly been raised. It ultimately led to more expensive licenses;
  • she stated that a distinction needed to be made between high value data which could be put together without much additional effort and data that involved considerable costs;
  • there could be considerable distortions in the market if public companies had to make all their data public, but private companies did not.

Liisa Jaakonsaari (S&D, FI)

  • she thanked the Rapporteur for her hard work, and stated that the same could not be said of the Commission. The issue of high value data sets was not dealt with in a “transparent and cooperative” manner;
  • in principle, she supported the creation of high value data sets based on their potential socio-economic benefits. The data sets should be available free of charge to all users;
  • she stressed that the Commission had provided no impact assessments or methodology to justify their selection of the data sets;
  • she stated that she would be tabling amendments on Article 14 on establishing a list of high value data sets;
  • she also intended to clarify the scope. The obligation concerning public undertakings was voluntary and should be clearly stated as such;
  • she welcomed the efforts made by the Rapporteur to aggregate the data at Union level;
  • she also supported limiting charges;
  • open data policies needed to be coupled with strong protection of personal data and considerations for national security.

Richard Sulík (ECR, BE)

  • he stated that the Rapporteur’s text was a good basis for discussion;
  • re-use of public sector data was also important for transparency;
  • his group welcomed amendment 3 in the text, which stated that data should be made public based on the ‘open-by-default’ principle;
  • regarding future data publication, he stated that there needed to be a clear definition of programme interfaces that allowed users to access the data;
  • he believed that the definition of data sets was a problem. The right of MS to apply the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality should be respected;
  • only data which was relevant to the European four freedoms should be made available;
  • he would be “inclined towards a limitation” of high value data sets in amendment 31. It should be limited to trade registers, mapping data and public procurement purposes. He believed that MS would welcome this.

Dita Charanzova (ALDE, CZ)

  • she welcomed the Rapporteur’s text. Her group always welcomed open data and open government, and could fully endorse the Rapporteur’s amendments;
  • her group’s amendments could be divided into 3 categories:
    • the re-use of data should be possible if the public has access upon request. It should be made clear in the Directive;
    • she stressed that dynamic data needed to be provided in real time and without delay. Users should be informed about any delays immediately;
    • spatial information needed to be included in high value data sets. Her group wanted to make it even more precise and clarify it in the text;
  • she looked forward to smooth and quick adoption of the opinion.

Yvo Volman, Head of Unit – Data Policy and Innovation, DG CONNECT, European Commission made he following remarks:

  • the Commission was pleased that the amendments in the Rapporteur’s text strengthened several of the provisions in the Commission’s proposal. He mentioned the changes made to the charging provisions in this regard;
  • the relationship between the Directive and national access regimes needed to be looked at closely;
  • regarding high value data sets, he stated that he was pleased that their importance had been recognised. He stated that it ws important to define what they were.

Rapporteur Julia Reda (Greens/EFA, DE) made the following closing remarks:

  • she thanked the Shadow Rapporteurs for their constructive remarks, and hoped that good cooperation with the Commission would be able to continue.

Source: One Policy Place

The simultaneous interpretation of debates provided by the EU institutions serves only to facilitate communication amongst the participants in the meeting. It does not constitute an authentic record of proceedings. One Policy Place uses these translations so this text is only a guide and should not be relied on as an official account of the meeting. Only the original speech or the revised written translation of that speech is authentic.

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