Parliament committee stays tough on re-use of public sector information

The Parliament’s industry committee adopted in its second reading nine compromise amendments to the Council’s common position on the re-use of public sector information.

In its common position of March 2003, the Council emphasised that the Directive does not in any form compel the Member States to allow the re-use of legislative and administrative documents. The decision rests with the Member States themselves.

The Parliament and the Council differ on several issues:

  • the Council wants to restrict the rules to public sector “documents”, whereas the Parliament uses the broader term “information”;
  • the MEPs want a shorter three-weeks time-limit for processing an information request;
  • Council and Parliament have different views on the “reasonable costs” for this providing of information.

 

The proposal for a directive on the re-use of public sector information aims at achieving a minimum harmonisation of the rules governing the re-use of information by public authorities. Currently, the different regimes in the Member States hamper the investment in creativity and innovation in the area of content provision to citizens by the public sector. Legal uncertainties and divergent regulations in the Member States present obstacles to the development of cross-border information products. The result is a fragmented and under-developed European market for digital content, where the level of harmonisation is rather limited.

The proposal aims to exploit the economic potential of public sector information drawing on the potentials of the information technology developments. The Council has identified with the idea to develop new online services for the provision of public sector information, which is referred to in information society terminology as "new content".

The proposed Directive contains a minimum set of common rules on the re-use of public sector information that would apply to all players in the European information market. The aim is to achieve more transparency and to remove unjustified market distortions.

 

  • The Parliament's plenary session is expected to have it second reading on 24 September
  • Parliament rapporteur W. Van Velzen will continue negotiations with the Council to prevent conciliation over the draft directive.

 

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