MEPs approve plans to open up access to public data to help boost innovation 


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Ivailo Kalfin during the debate on the re-use of public data 

Public information will become more accessible enabling companies to reuse the date to offer services and applications, under rules approved by Parliament on Thursday 13 June. This includes information such as geographic and weather data, statistics or digitised books. The initiative aims to promote transparency in public administration, spur innovation and give a boost to the digital economy. The Commission expect this legislation to give the economy a boost of up to €40 billion.


The rules should ensure that all public information except for private data is made available on the internet, said Ivailo Kalfin, who is responsible for steering the legislation through Parliament. This includes information that public authorities have produced, collected or paid for. The Bulgarian member of the S&D group added that this would change public administrations' attitude and culture and help overcome people's reluctance to share information.

Boost to the economy

Mr Kalfin believes the move would enable companies to get access in an open format that can be easily be re-used. "A software company could develop public transport schedules in real time, mapping services, or databases of commercial activity and infrastructure planning in the region, just by accessing the existing public data," he explained

Under the new rules companies would get the data already available to public bodies either for free or for a marginal cost, as society has already paid for the collection of this information. MEPs negotiated with member states to ensure that any exceptions are clearly defined and that there are set rules of procedure for access to the data and redress in case of disputes.