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The French candidate for the European Parliament Marielle de Sarnez says public administrations' interest in free software is essential. "This is an issue of competitiveness for the EU in the information technologies sector, as well as the condition of our technological independence."
Sarnez, a member of the European Parliament since 1999, is currently campaigning to be re-elected to the European Parliament. She has recently pledged her support for free software, after being approached by the Free Software advocacy associations April in France and the Associazione per il software libero in Italy. The two organisations want candidates for the European Parliament to pledge their support for free software.
In a statement explaining her support for the campaign, Sarnez says she was one of the MEPs that last year called on the EP to move to this type of software. "Europe's potential for Free Software is unique."
The campaign by April and Software Libero so far has the support of ten candidates from France, Italy and Belgium.
All candidates for the European Parliament are asked to publicly state their support for the use and development of this type of software and to affirm that they will protect it from legislation that threatens it.
The two advocacy groups started a campaign on 31 March, two months ahead of the elections for the European Parliament. They want citizens to approach candidates, bring them up-to-date regarding free software and ask them to express their support for it. The names of candidates that pledge support are published on a web site, The Free Software Pact.
Spokesperson for the campaign, Alix Cazenave, said free software advocacy groups in Spain and Portugal are about to join the campaign. "And we are also making contact with German free software activists."
On this site the groups have also made available an application to help volunteers organise their lobby work, called 'Grassroot Platform Technology'. An alternative open source platform, 'Carocandidato', is developed by Italians developers involved in the campaign.
"The Free Software Pact is a tool for citizens who value free software to educate candidates about its importance and why they should, if elected, protect Europe's free software community", the two advocacy groups write in a statement.
Both organisations previously have approached national politicians for similar campaigns, so "joining forces was a natural step", the two organisation explain.