Government OSPOs for Europe

OSPO Series: Government OSPOs for Europe

Published on: 10/02/2021

The final results of the European Commission Study on the Impact of Open Source Software and Hardware were presented on 5 February at the European Open Source Policy Summit, opened by Commissioner Breton. A part of this presentation was the recommendation to leverage the European Commission Open Source Programme Office (OSPO) to scale Open Source across Europe.

Sachiko Muto, CEO of OpenForum Europe opened the conference by saying the study is “a big moment” for European Open Source policy and beyond. The Commission’s DG Connect tasked Fraunhofer ISI and OpenForum Europe to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the EU market and key industrial sectors, and where Europe stands in comparison to the rest of the world. This study was tendered to support fact-based policymaking in the future, aimed at maximising the benefits of open for digital transformation. The final report of the study will conclude with policy recommendations that aim to augment and accelerate the benefits of Open Source for Europe.

Speaking during the Summit about what Europe needs to do to harness the findings, Muto expanded saying the results “show that there is a significant impact of Open Source to the GDP of the EU, which justifies a scaling up of policy interventions to support Open Source software and hardware in all sectors of the economy and public administrations.” Muto continued, focusing on the European public sector “we consider that increasing the institutional capacity within the public sector related to open source software especially is a necessary condition to being able to implement all the other recommendations in the report. The scale of Europe’s aggregate institutional capacity related to open source, we think, is disproportionately smaller than the total value created by open source.”

The OSOR has reported already multiple times about the new European Commission Open Source Strategy and the OSPO that the Commission has created as an important step to support the Commission’s digital transformation. Muto also acknowledged these activities saying “we know the European Commision and others have initiated activities and programmes [...] one area where we feel the European Commission can take action is through an OSPO. We have seen this emerging as a fundamental building block and networking interface, strengthening the institutional infrastructure of open source also in the private sector. We believe the European Commission can play a leading role in establishing OSPOs in government institutions across Europe.”

Concretely the study makes a number of recommendations to utilise OSPO for Europe’s digital transformation:

  1. Giving the EC OSPO and external networking component to connect to other public and private OSPOs
  2. Identifying and mapping European OSPOs in existence in industry, public sector and academia
  3. Encouraging and building 20 OSPOs through funding programme
  4. Creating and funding a semi-formal network of these OSPOs to share best practices
  5. A European Open Source culture enabled by the EC OSPO.

Muto took a moment to highlight “encouraging that winning Open Source culture that Commissioner [Breton] was speaking about.” She announced during the Summit that she hopes the final report of the study will be published soon for the public to read. The full presentation is available on the event website.