Thursday, 18 March 2010

Reactions on the EXPRESS report

As you can imagine, having been a member of the EXPRESS panel I received quite some reactions since the publication of the the final EXPRESS report. This is, for sure, very interesting for me to see how the report is being received and what people think about it. I had posted my initial ramblings on the final report in my blog post right after the report was published.

The reactions I am getting range from valued support of the report to strong rejection. And it is pretty easy to locate the different feedback, too:

Those who like the report are organisations or people who predominantly work in the formal standardisation structures. They are happy that the report takes a rather conservative stance on the European Standardisation System (ESS) and does, in fact not propose a big overhaul but hardly any legal changes at all.

Those who reject the report largely come from the ICT world - and the more they are used to working in the standardisation structures which the IT world and in particular the software and internet world have created, the more do people think that the EXPRESS report is of almost no relevance for the ICT sector.

In between those extremes there are the people who, on the one hand, value the current ESS structures, but who, on the other hand, see a strong and urgen need for changes to accommodate the specifics of the ICT sector. They support a fast revision of Council Decision 87/95 with a focus on the implementation of (available, global open) standards and on fostering interoperability. And they see that Directive 98/34 in contrast has got a different focus, namely on the development of standards in support of regulation and of a harmonised European internal market. For this Directive they don't see a strong need for changes and would be happy if the legal processes were decoupled with a fast revision of the Council Decision based on the Commission proposals as laid down in the ICT White Paper.

Pesonally, I think that this middle way is pretty sensitive. There is an urgent need for ICT to get the legal changes as outlined in the ICT White Paper. Moreover, these changes provide Europe with an effective mechanism for dealing with one of the major future challenges: globalisation and how to make open standards that are well established and implemented on the global marketplace available for Europe and for use in EU policies and public procurement.

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