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The need for an European approach

Author(s)

Luis Manuel Ferrão, European Commission

Public sector information (PSI) is a major source of reusable information for added-value products and services in the knowledge economy. Information society tools, digitisation and the Internet have significantly expanded the exploitation potential of such as yet widely untaped source of wealth in the online environment. Services based on PSI are offered to European citizens every day, such as GPS navigation systems, weather forecasts, transport including road traffic information or financial and insurance services.

The value of the EU PSI market (without scientific and cultural information) is estimated at around €27 billion or 0.25% of GDP1. Although significant (the EU market for roaming services was estimated at €6.5 billion in 20072), this still leaves a wide market gap with respect to the US, where the whole information market (mainly based on PSI) was estimated at 9% of GDP3.

To unlock the full potential of PSI for the EU economy, a minimum level playing field is required to facilitate cross-border re-use of public data from a variety of sources at affordable cost. The PSI Directive removes important barriers that limit reuse at a pan-European level, such as discriminatory practices, excessive pricing, monopoly markets and lack of transparency.

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