EU flagYesterday, in the final stage of the EU approval process, the European Parliament formally adopted updated EU rules on the re-use of public sector information.

The Council of Ministers had already agreed to the new rules at last week’s Telecoms Council.

European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes said: “Today we can celebrate our efforts to bring government data closer to citizens and businesses in Europe. We are finally getting the much needed legal framework to boost the economy and create new jobs.”

After this final endorsement, the Commission will start developing a series of guidelines on the most relevant elements addressed in the Directive, such as licensing, datasets and charging arrangements (it’s public sector information produced with taxpayers’ money; it should be available free of charge. Ed.).

Member States will have 24 months from the date of entry into force of the revised Directive to implement it in domestic legislation. Once fully implemented, the Directive will boost the data market in Europe by making all the generally accessible public sector information available for re-use. Developers, programmers, creative citizens and businesses will be able to get and re-use public sector data at zero or very low cost in most cases. Prospective users will also have access to more exciting and interesting content since materials in national museums, libraries and archives now fall under the scope of the Directive.

Neelie Croes has also written a post on this topic on her blog.