Paris, March, the 30th, 2010. Press release.
April publishes a letter to the European Commission supporting
Commissioner Neelie Kroes' approach in favor of open standards and
interoperability in the digital agenda.
At the European level, open standards and interoperability are
endangered and could disappear from European Union's digital policy
Neelie Kroes, European Commissioner in charge of Digital Strategy (and
former European Commissioner for Competition), is currently drafting the
agenda for Europe's digital policy.
PC INpact revealed last week a working version of the document titled
"A Digital Agenda for Europe - A policy for smart growth and innovation
in a digital society".
The article indicates that Neelie Kroes suffers pressure through the
Directorate General Enterprise to remove open standards and
interoperability concepts from the agenda.
These pressures come within a context in which proprietary software
lobbies, Microsoft at their head, are trying to revise downward the open
standard definition. See especially "EIF 2.0: lettres ouvertes à la
Commission européenne pour sauvegarder l'interopérabilité".
« Open standards undeniably play a positive role for
digital economy. April therefore rejoices to see that Commissioner
Kroes identified them as such and wishes to use them to fullful EU's
digital agenda. Given the crucial interest of open standards for
competition, innovation and inclusion of all in the European market,
we don't doubt that Commissioners Almunia Mira, Tajani and Barnier will
support Mrs Kroes taking steps » declares Tangui Morlier,
president of April.
« By appointing a vice-president to the digital agenda,
president Barroso showed its will to promote competitive, innovative,
open and inclusive digital societies in Europe. The published draft
shows that th Commission can make this policy come true. Its adoption
as is would prove that when it comes to the digital agenda, it is now
out of question to opt for status quo and therefore to give in to
private interests whose rent-seeking beahviours are based on control
and lock-in » adds Frédéric Couchet, executive director
In today's "Document Freedom Day" April brings its support to Neelie
Kroes and wrote to Commissioners Joaquín Almunia Mira (competition),
Michel Barnier (market), Antonio Tajani (industry) and of course Neelie
Kroes (digital strategy).
We are writing to you to express our concern over the content of
"Digital Agenda for Europe" that shall be presented in late
April. According to information we have received the commission
may not include a reference to the importance of open standards for
interoperability in the final communication. Such an omission would be
damaging to the interest of our members, the European software sector
The development of eGovernment and the interconnection of businesses,
citizens and public administrations are two chalenges Europe will face.
To address them, governements need to work on several mesures:
data durability, interoperability, accessibility, information system
sustainability. Open Standards and Free Software are the best way
to fulfill these requirements. Especially Interoperability is best guaranteed
and facilitated by open standards. They provide also freedom of choice
and prevent single vendor lock-in.
An open, dynamic, competitive software market relies on the legal and
technical possibility to innovate and interact with existing
solutions. Open Standards gives free rein to innovation and creativity
on the software market.
The European Commission is a long standing supporter of open
standards, IDABC adopted an extremely clear and appropriate definition
of Open Standards in EIF v1.0 (*). in addition, numerous member states
have adopted policies explicitly promoting open standards.
We fear that the lack of clear support of open standards and
interoperability would bear regrettable confusion among the member
states, Europe's citizens and businesses. We therefore believe
necessary to make a clear stance on open standards and even strengthen
the previous positions defined by the IDABC and the Information
We support the promotion of open standards in the policies, new
legislation, future IT developments, procurement procedures and
funding of the EU in order to provide citizens with a choice and to
IDABC adopted an extremely clear and appropriate definition of Open
Standards: "European Interoperability Framework for Pan-European
eGovernment services v1.0":
The following are the minimal characteristics that a specification and
its attendant documents must have in order to be considered an open
- The standard is adopted and will be maintained by a not-for-profit
organisation, and its ongoing development occurs on the basis of an
open decision-making procedure available to all interested parties
(consensus or majority decision etc.).
- The open standard has been published and the standard specification
document is available either freely or at a nominal charge. It must be
permissible to all to copy, distribute and use it for no fee or at a
- The intellectual property - i.e. patents possibly present - of (parts
of) the open standard is made irrevocably available on a royalty free
- There are no constraints on the re-use of the standard.
- This definition of open standards enables competition, innovation and
especially the construction of sustainable IT infrastructure. It does
not need to be changed so as to adapt to proprietary models: it is
proprietary models that are to change so as to comply with this
Pioneer of free software in France, April has been since 1996 a major
player in the democratization and the spread of Free Software and open
standards to the general public, professionals and institutions in the
French-speaking world. In the digital era that is ours, it also aims
to inform the public on the dangers of an exclusive appropriation of
information and knowledge by private interests. The association is
made up of more than 5,000 individuals, 292 companies, 154
associations, 5 local government bodies and 8 educational
organizations, all sharing the values of freedom.
April's last contribution to the European Commission's consultations
April is a registered interest representative (ID: 30399252478-91) in
Pioneer of free software in France, April has been since 1996 a major player in the democratization and the spread of Free Software and open standards to the general public, professionals and institutions in the French-speaking world. In the digital era that is ours, it also aims to inform the public on the dangers of an exclusive appropriation of information an knowledge by private interests.
The association is made up of more than 5300 Free Software authors and users.
Press contacts :
Tangui Morlier, president firstname.lastname@example.org +33 6 81 88 02 98
Frédéric Couchet, executive director, email@example.com +33 6 60 68 89