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<head>
<title>Study: To ensure transparency, European Parliament must adopt Free Software, Open Standards</title>
</head>
<body>
<h1>Study: To ensure transparency, European Parliament must adopt Free Software, Open Standards</h1>
<p>
A study released on Friday says that the European Parliament must adopt Free
Software and <a href="/freesoftware/standards/def.html">Open
Standards</a> in order to fulfil its transparency obligations. The
authors conclude that "the Rules of Procedure of the European
Parliament should whenever possible make Free Software and Open
Standards mandatory for all systems and data used for the work of
Parliament."
</p>
<p>
The study,
entitled <a href="http://www.greens-efa.eu/fileadmin/dam/Documents/Studies/Ensuring-Utmost-Transparency--Piana-Oberg-Korff.pdf">"Ensuring
utmost transparency -- Free Software and Open Standards under the
Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament"</a>, was prepared by
two legal experts for
the <a href="http://www.greens-efa.eu/free-software-and-open-standards-in-the-european-parliament-13245.html">Greens/EFA</a>
in the European Parliament. Its authors, the legal experts Carlo Piana
(Italy) and Ulf Öberg (Sweden), argue that the Parliament is committed
to an even higher standard of openness than other EU institutions.
</p>
<blockquote><p>
"This study sends a strong signal that Free Software and Open
Standards are essential for the European institutions to fulfil their
transparency obligations," says FSFE's president Karsten Gerloff. "We
call on the European Parliament to implement the study's
recommendations at all levels, and as quickly as possible, in
particular with regard to access and use of documents, email and
encryption, video streaming, and upcoming procurement decisions."
</p></blockquote>
<p>
The study lists a number of concrete steps the European Parliament
needs to take in order to fulfil its transparency obligations:
</p>
<p>
<ul>
<li>Immediate technical measures includes to enable access and use of
documents, email and encryption with and through Open Standards. In
other words, the European Parliament must make it possible to work
with ODF, IMAP and OpenPGP inside the Parliament. It must also ensure
that citizens can use these open standards to communicate with the
Parliament, regardless of the software platform they are using.</li>
<li>When acquiring software and services, the European Parliament
should prefer Free Software based on Open Standards. This is not only
allowed by the EU's procurement rules, but actually "serves the
general economic interest of the EU".</li>
<li>The European Parliament should continously check that its IT
infrastructure and services comply with the Constitutional Principle
of Openness and the Parliament's own Rules of Procedure to ensure the
utmost transparency.</li>
</ul>
</p>
<p>
FSFE and others have repeatedly criticised the Parliament for failing
on transparency. Currently, MEPs and parliamentary staff do not have
access to a standards-compliant email solution, and live video streams
from the Parliament are not accessible for Free Software users.
</p>
<blockquote><p>
"The Parliament needs to open itself to the world," says
Gerloff. "Live video streams that allow all Europeans to follow the
Parliament's work are essential to democracy in the 21st
century. Encryption is a necessity to allow the citizens to talk to
their MEPs in confidence. Utmost transparency is one of the EU's
fundamental principles, and Europeans expect their Parliament to do
better in this regard."
</p></blockquote>
<p>
The Greens/EFA are soliciting <a href="http://euwiki.org/Ensuring_utmost_transparency_--_Free_Software_and_Open_Standards_under_the_Rules_of_Procedure_of_the_European_Parliament">feedback</a> for a second edition of the study.
</p>
<p class="hide">
Media contact: <br />
Karsten Gerloff <br />
Mail: gerloff@fsfe.org <br />
tel.: +49 176 9690 4298
</p>
</body>
<tags>
<tag key="front-page"/>
<tag key="openstandards">Open Standards</tag>
<tag key="european-parliament">European Parliament</tag>
<tag key="it"/>
</tags>
</html>