On 10 June 2010 Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes addressed the audience of the Open Forum Europe 2010 Summit promoting the idea that open standards and interoperability be at heart of the EU Digital Agenda. In her speech Ms Kroes stressed that she sees herself as a big fan of open standards. She said she believes in openness and she believes in practising what one preaches.

Kroes advocated the choice of open standard as a very wise business decision: “Interoperability boosts competition and we need more of that … and that is why everybody who cares about interoperability should care about the financial conditions for the use of standards as well as the indirect constraints imposed on third parties: the fewer constraints the better.”

To create more and better standards in Europe Kroes proposed a number of measures to be implemented at EU level: a reform of the European standardisation systems to “bring relevant standards from non–traditional standard setting organisations to an equal footing with European standards when it comes to achieving interoperability.”

Concerning IPRs Kroes called for rules for ex-ante disclosures concerning standards involving intellectual property rights a proposal set to avoid companies focussing only on IP revenue. Kroes here referred to a draft of new antitrust rules which would be designed to keep standardisation processes free of abuse: the document relies on concepts of “non-discrimination transparency and availability and specifies minimum requirements that distinguish standard-setting from a cartel”

Kroes also announced the launch of a new European Interoperability Framework (EIF) in 2010. It will call for public bodies to choose solutions with the least constraints making sure no chosen supplier can take advantage by “locking-in”. Under the new EIF2 public authorities would have to justify using closed solutions.

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Original Publication Date: Mon 26 Jul 2010