Open for reuse

‘Tallinn declaration’ commits EU to increase use of open source


When building or rebuilding ICT systems, public services should make more use of open source software solutions, the Ministers of the European Union Member States and EFTA countries agreed in Tallinn (Estonia) on 6 October. The recommendation is part of the ‘Tallinn Ministerial Declaration on eGovernment’.

By signing the Ministerial Declaration on eGovernment, the ministers agree that using open source solutions and open standards helps to avoid IT vendor lock-in. They call on public services to make their ICT solutions publicly available, and to encourage the private sector and civil society to reuse the software.

In addition, the ministers call on the Commission “to consider strengthening the requirements for use of open source solutions and standards when (re)building of ICT systems and solutions takes place with EU funding - including by an appropriate open licence policy - by 2020.”


Signed by ministers of the 28 EU member states and the EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, the Tallinn Declaration stresses the importance of interoperability.

“For the principle of interoperability by default, we will work on national interoperability frameworks based on the European Interoperability Framework (EIF), while respecting also the relevant national standards, and adhere to EIF for cross-border digital public services,” the signatories say.

As OSOR reported earlier, the EIF also recommends the use of open source. “The use of open source software technologies and products can help save development cost, avoid a lock-in effect and allow fast adaptation to specific business needs because the developer communities that support them are constantly adapting them. Public administrations should not only use open source software but whenever possible contribute to the pertinent developer communities. Open source is an enabler of the underlying EIF principle on reusability.”

EIF Recommendation 3 reads: “Ensure a level playing field for open source software and demonstrate active and fair consideration of using open source software, taking into account the total cost of ownership of the solution.”

More information:

EC announcement
Tallinn Declaration on eGovernment (PDF)
EU 2017 news item


Mon, 06/11/2017 - 09:19

Hi Gijs, I too share your upbeat take on the Tallinn Declaration (! Despite the political wind filling the open source sail it's still possible to envisage disruptive waves - largely springing from misunderstanding about core Open Source principles (both technologically and culturally). Looking fwd to working with you to see these important pledges fully implemented within the remainder of the EU's mandate. Best and tot ziens! James

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