Commission calls for action to unlock public sector information re-use
The Commission reported on 7th May 2009 on the impact of common EU rules on the re-use of public sector information (the PSI Directive) put in place in 2003. The Directive sets out how public sector bodies should make their information available for re-use in order to remove barriers such as discriminatory practices, monopoly markets and a lack of transparency. The Commission’s review confirmed the positive impact of the PSI Directive in different sectors across the EU: in the geographical sector, the volume of information, such as cadastral or environmental information or maps, downloaded from public sector bodies has grown by about 350% since 2002. For example, the popular personal navigation systems are based on maps produced by the public sector, and their sale worldwide is expected to grow from 30.7 million units in 2007 to 68 million units in 2012. However, the Commission warned that to realise the full potential of public sector information for the EU economy Member States must remove remaining barriers to re-use: discrimination between potential users, high charges for public sector information and complex licensing policies. It also highlighted practical problems such as lack of awareness on what public sector information is available, and public sector bodies failing to realise the economic potential of their data. The Commission will review whether this has been done by 2012, when more evidence on the impact, effects and application of EU rules on public sector information will be available. Until then, the Commission will closely monitor implementation and application of the PSI Directive in the Member States, particularly exclusive agreements, and encourage authorities to take measures that facilitate the re-use of public sector information.