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<html newsdate="2015-03-25">
<title>Joint statement : Maximising inclusiveness and engagement
through the use of Open Standards in the European Commission</title>
<h1>Joint statement : Maximising inclusiveness and
engagement through the use of Open Standards in the European Commission</h1>
<p>Today is Document Freedom Day, the international
day to celebrate and raise awareness of Open Standards. On this
occasion, we would like to reflect on the importance for public
institutions in general, and for the European Commission in
particular, considering its leadership role, of using Open Standards
in all their digital communication and services.
<a href="/freesoftware/standards/def.html">Open
Standards</a> are formats and protocols which everybody can use, free
of charge and restriction, for which no specific software from a
particular vendor is required. They are essential for interoperability
and freedom of choice based on the merits of different software
applications. For a public institution such as the European
Commission, this is especially important because every EU citizen and
company should have the right to communicate and interact with its
administration using Open Standards exclusively, and not be forced to
install and use software from any specific vendor. That is why we take
this opportunity of Document Freedom Day, to voice our concerns on the
improper use of standards in the context of applying for EU
Nowadays, when applying for most EU programmes, applicants are
typically required to fill in PDF forms that use elements only implemented
in proprietary software from a particular vendor (Adobe), software that is
currently not available on all platforms. This is a problem for many
applicants who end up bereft of choice or excluded from the process
altogether. It does not have to be this way, especially when a number of efficient
alternatives exist that are entirely based on Open Standards. Generally,
we would advise against the use of PDF for online forms, and would
instead recommend solutions based Open Web Standards like HTML5 and
XForms. With this joint statement, we call on the European Commission to
address this situation and ensure that all interactions with the public can
be performed entirely using Open Standards, thereby ensuring maximum
inclusiveness and freedom of choice for all European citizens.
Signatories :
Jean-Christophe Becquet,
Karsten Gerloff,
Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE)
Andreas Krisch,
European Digital Rights (EDRi)
Graham Taylor,
OpenForum Europe (OFE)
Peter Ganten,
Chairman of the board,
Open Source Business Alliance (OSBA)
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