New petition calls for open standards in the European Parliament
Call for openess at EU
Brussels – 6 March 2008.
At a time when the EU Commission investigates the anti-competitive behaviour of a market-dominant player, the European Parliament (EP) still imposes that same specific software choice on both the European Union's citizens and its own MEPs. OpenForum Europe, The European Software Market Association, and the Free Software Foundation Europe today launched a petition to call on the EP to use open standards so that all citizens can participate in the democratic process.
Graham Taylor, Chief Executive of OpenForum Europe says: "The benefits of the Internet were achieved from open standards, freedom of access, participation for all, innovation where it really mattered. Not proprietary lock-in and monopoly. Government and Parliament need to show leadership in ensuring full participation for all its citizens.
Pieter Hintjens, General Secretary of Esoma explains, "Small businesses are moving to modern open standards like Open Document Format, yet to write to their MEPs they have to switch back to old proprietary formats? The EP should lead the way in open government, starting with open standards for documents and recordings."
The signatories are encouraging citizens and other stakeholder groups to publicly support the objectives of the petition by signing up on www.openparliament.eu
It is the right of all citizens to be able to freely communicate with their elected representatives, and have full and free access to the proceedings of Parliament. In today’s electronic world of the internet, email and video streaming, citizens rightly have high expectations on the European Parliament to ensure full participation without technical restriction.
Yet it is a fact that the domination of current suppliers, unless challenged, does impose unnecessary restriction, forcing citizens to purchase specific software, maintaining lock-in to that supplier and limiting competition and choice.
Openness is all about the freedom to innovate, integrate and participate. For example there are already internationally approved standards for document exchange, supported by a multitude of competitive main stream products - yet these standards are unsupported by the European Parliament, which instead only supports products based on proprietary protocols. Not only does this potentially increase cost, restrict access and impact social inclusion, but it restricts the opportunity to take advantage of new innovation offered by tomorrow's technology.
The co-signatories of this Petition call on the European Parliament to open up their IT systems, maximising the use of open standards and ensure full democracy for its citizens.
Issued by Open Forum Europe through Chelgate Ltd.