A couple of weeks ago I wrote about what looked like a troubling move away from openness on the part of the European Union. Claims that the leaked European Interoperability Framework wasn't really a draft of version 2 were pretty unconvincing, and I have heard a rumour that the people involved may be starting to backpedal in the face of the outcry. So clearly there's some confusion about what's really happening in Europe in the area of openness.
Against that background, this apparently rather dull document [.pdf] from the Swedish Presidency following the Information Society Conference “Visby Agenda – Creating Impact for an eUnion 2015", held in Visby, Sweden, on 9-10 November 2009, gains considerably in importance.
Here, for example, are some interesting statements about openness of various kinds – open data, open platforms and open solutions:
10. EU member states and community institutions should seek to make data freely accessible in open machine-readable formats, for the benefit of entrepreneurship, research and transparency.
11. Access to and reuse of public sector information and data should be improved among EU Member States. The domains of data targeted by the Directive on the re-use of public sector information should be enlarged.
12. Open platforms for innovation and the development of services for public and commercial use should be fostered. This should include commercially neutral promotion of open solutions in public procurement to ensure that interoperability rests on a non-proprietary basis. In this context, standardised interfaces between process steps are one key element.
The key one is probably “This should include commercially neutral promotion of open solutions in public procurement to ensure that interoperability rests on a non-proprietary basis,” which presumably means open standards and open source. At least it would if it weren't for the uncertainty engendered by that wretched EIF v2....