On 23 February 2022, the European Commission published the official version of the expected EU Data Act. This Data Act is a horizontal regulation which will be completed by sectoral regulation if needed. The aim of this regulation is to foster a fair access to EU data and to foster and boost data sharing in particular for industrial data. The Data Act proposes to increase data sharing possibilities between businesses (B2B) but also between businesses and governments (B2G). The Commission therefore proposes that data holders must provide users with access to their data free of charge and in fact it includes a data portability right for all data generated by users (including with connected objects and online services), similar to what exists for personal data under the GDPR.
The Data Act also promotes interoperability especially for cloud-based data and aims at putting in place new interoperability standards in this sector. For cloud service providers, special guarantees against illegal transfer of data are also established
The Data Act also introduces a new requirement for businesses to share their data with governments and public institutions in case of exceptional circumstances and for specific sectors. This measure has already raised some concerns from business sectors arguing that the incentives for businesses to share their data are not sufficient and that there should be some clear rules preventing against unfair competition if data is shared between businesses and public bodies.
In parallel, the Commission unveiled a Staff Working Document on EU Data Spaces. The European data strategy of February 2020 announced the creation of data spaces in 10 strategic fields: health, agriculture, manufacturing, energy, mobility, financial, public administration, skills, the European Open Science Cloud and the crosscutting key priority of meeting the Green Deal objectives.
Since then, data spaces in other important areas such as media and cultural heritage have also emerged. The ultimate goal is that together, the data spaces will form a single European data space: a genuine single market for data.
Common European data spaces bring together relevant data infrastructures and governance frameworks in order to facilitate data pooling and sharing.
- deploy data-sharing tools and services for the pooling, processing and sharing of data by an open number of organisations, as well as federate energy-efficient and trustworthy cloud capacities and related services;
- include data governance structures, compatible with relevant EU legislation, which determine, in a transparent and fair way, the rights concerning access to and processing of the data;
- improve the availability, quality and interoperability of data – both in domain-specific settings and across sectors.
This staff working document, prepared in response to a request from the European Council, provides an overview of the common European data spaces.
First, it presents relevant horizontal aspects, including the concept, cross-sectoral legislation and measures, EU support programmes and data infrastructure initiatives. Second, it describes the current state of play of the common European data spaces that were announced by the European Commission.
The Commission will further report on the development of common European data spaces in 2023.