[ffii] EU interoperability enforcement attempts to catch up with Asia

Office FFII e.V. office at ffii.org
Thu Dec 16 13:31:26 CET 2010

[standards, e-barriers, interoperability]
FFII: EU interoperability enforcement attempts to catch up with Asia

Brussels, 16 December 2010 - The European Commission adopted a
communication "Towards interoperability for European public services",
introducing the second incarnation of the European Interoperability
Framework (EIF) and the European Interoperability Strategy (EIS) [1]. This
week the Commission also published fresh Horizontal Guidelines [2] which
bloc-exempt patent cartels from competition enforcement.

 "The European Interoperability Framework is a legend. It's hard, indeed,
to make impact that compares with the first EIF. Unfortunately the lobby
watered European interoperability enforcement down. It's amazing that
EU-Commissioner Šefcovic overcame indecision, and presents their 'wet'
documents.", says FFII Vice-President Rene Mages.

The 2004 European Interoperability Framework (EIF) 1.0 was well received
globally, and faced fierce opposition from interoperability laggards. It
laid down the term "Open Standards" as it is used by digital natives [4]:
Open standards do not require licensing and can be implemented without
restrictions and tolls. The EIF 1.0 inspired many software procurement
policies of third nations. Since the release of the EIF 1.0 emerging
powers have become significant players for software interoperability. Last
month India released an strong open standards policy [5].

"What counts are actual interoperability achievements, not terminology
struggles.  We are satisfied that our proposals for a focus on
identification of barriers and facilitators are considered", explains FFII
General Secretary André Rebentisch. "Meanwhile India steals the show from
Commissioner Maroš Šefcovic, and China is highly aware to shield control
of its critical information infrastructure."

Openness of public information infrastructures and the potential to
undercut vendor lock-in and e-barriers remains a challenge for both
administrations and markets. The European Commission faces increasing
regulatory competition with Asian ICT markets in the field of
interoperability enforcement.


[1] EU press release - Towards interoperability for European public services

[2] EU press release Commission DG Comp Horizontal Guidelines

[3] FFII Ten Recommendations on an earlier draft

[4] Definition of Open Standards

[5] Indian policy on open standards for e-government

How to support the FFII

The FFII is organised in working groups and we welcome new participants.
Our open standards working group documented at

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We also appreciate your donations which help us to sustain our mission:

How to contact us

FFII e.V. Office Berlin
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Registered association in Munich, Amtsgericht München VR 16460
Tax ID: 143/214/80285 at the German tax authority in Munich.
Board: Benjamin Henrion (be), Rene Mages (fr), Stephan Uhlmann (de), André
Rebentisch (de), Alex Macfie (uk)

The FFII is a not-for-profit association active in several European
countries, dedicated to the development of information goods for the
public benefit, based on copyright, free competition, open standards. More
than 1000 members, 3,500 companies and 100,000 supporters have entrusted
the FFII to act as their voice in public policy questions concerning
exclusive rights in data processing.
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