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Kroes replies to Munich: 'Standards in IT procurement will tackle the problem'

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European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes, responsible for the Digital Agenda, wants public authorities to include IT standards in their procuring of software and IT solutions. She says this will tackle the problem of IT vendor lock-in "at its origin".

Kroes earlier this month sent a reply to Christian Ude, the mayor of the German city of Munich. Her letter was made public by the city yesterday.

In a post on its blog, the city's IT department explains that Ude had in his letter asked Kroes and Joaquin Almunia, Vice President and Commissioner responsible for competition, to get the EC to adopt the Open Document Format (ODF) as a standard format for document exchange. Ude had also asked the EC to make more use of open source software.

In her reply, Kroes points out that with her Digital Agenda for Europe, she is helping public administrations to get their IT procurement right. "Since public authorities should make best use of the full range of standards when procuring software and IT services, this (...) will tackle the problem at its origin by providing guidance to help public authorities use standards in procurement."

She says that her Digital Agenda is 'raising the stakes to achieve better interoperability and standards for a more efficient procurement'. "(Interoperability) empowers the users to make the best choice without being locked-in."

The Vice President also points out that EC officials can use ODF as well as PDF (Portable Document Format) when communicating with citizens.

Kroes: "I am glad to see that Munich has progressed in developing its IT applications and infrastructure and encourage you to continue in this line and to pass on you interesting results to other public administrations in Europe."

More information:
Blog post by Munich's IT department (in German)
Letter by EC Vice President Neelie Kroes (in English, pdf)
Letter by EC Vice President Neelie Kroes (translated into German, pdf)
Earlier Joinup news item
Digital Agenda for Europe - Action 23