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European Commissioner outlines priorities

Commissioner Hahn at the EU Open Source Policy Summit

Published on: 21/02/2022 Last update: 03/05/2022 News

The EU Open Source Policy Summit is an annual event focusing on “Open Source & the Grand Challenges” as its theme this year. The EU Commissioner for Budget and Administration Johannes Hahn was among 38 speakers from the public and private sector who joined the event.

European Commissioner Hahn at the EU Open Source Policy Summit

The Commissioner touched on several topics in his speech, starting from highlighting how important open source is within the Commission itself: 75% of all hosts in the European Commission’s data centres run on Linux, open source can be found throughout the institution and is being leveraged for reaching the Commission's goals whenever software is involved. Hahn also noted that open source has a geopolitical value and can contribute to increasing the EU's technological sovereignty.

The Commission’s Open Source Software Strategy, announced in 2020, aims at creating an open source culture and is prompting new open source initiatives in the institution. Those include the launch of the European Commission’s Open Source Program Office last year, introduction of the new rules making distribution of open source software easier for the institution’s developers and the plans to launch an external repository that will allow sharing the Commission’s code. Commissioner Hahn also pinpointed that the Commission intends to be a key player in the open source community and that in order to increase open source security, different actors throughout the Member States have to join forces. 

The Commissioner welcomed developments in open source throughout public administrations in Europe to seize the economic and innovative potential of open source. These include the Action Plan on Free Software and Digital Commons in France, the initiatives in Estonia, Spain and Italy, as well as the newly created Centre for Digital Sovereignty in Germany. 

According to the Commissioner, several factors are needed to use the potential of open source and to reach the political goals of the EU: nurturing a tech startup culture, utilising the digital single market for lean and sustainable tech industry, overcoming planned obsolescence, pooling the efforts of the EU’s Member States for technological independence and improving cybersecurity. 

Other topics of sessions at the Summit included: 

  • increasing the public sector’s capacity in open source; 
  • how sustainability and the green transition can be supported through open source solutions and ways of working; 
  • chip shortages, ways to address them and if open source hardware has a role to play; 
  • open source software security;
  • the economics of open source; and 
  • how the European Digital COVID certificates allowed the citizens of over 40 countries to travel more safely.

Another high level speaker from the public sector was Minister of Public Sector Transformation and the Civil Service of France, Amélie de Montchalin. The Summit is organised by OpenForum Europe, a Brussels-based think tank focusing on openness in digital policy. All recordings and agenda of the event are available on the Summit site.