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Europe needs Free Software to master its digital infrastructure


The FSFE calls upon the European Commission to use Free Software to ensure a secure and resilient digital infrastructure. Software freedom will also benefit the economy, civil society and democracy.

Illustration from the PMPC video showing what looks like a government building getting some files of code and auditing them

The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) provided last evening its input to the European Commission's consultation on the white paper "How to master Europe’s digital infrastructure needs?". As an advocate for software freedom, the FSFE underscores the crucial role of Free Software in building secure and resilient digital infrastructure for Europe while strengthening economy, democracy and civil society alike.

Challenges around digital infrastructure occur at global, regional and local levels, often revolving around control and access. Collaboration and openness are playing just as important role as the capability and skills to swiftly and effectively fix issues. Challenges addressed by the White paper could be addressed by redirecting IT investments in software freedom instead of procuring closed source, proprietary software. This approach not only boosts the European IT landscape and creates jobs but also saves costs and resources in the medium and long term by avoiding the need to repeatedly reinvent the the wheel.

“The European digital infrastructure, the European tech market, the IT skills of Europeans and civil society would greatly benefit if investments in software adhered to the principle of “Public money? Public Code!” We need software that fosters the sharing of good ideas and solutions. Like this we will be able to manage and improve IT services and digital infrastructure all over Europe. We need software that guarantees freedom of choice, access, and competition. We need software that helps public administrations regain full control of their critical digital infrastructure, allowing them to become and remain independent from a handful of companies. Therefore, laws and programs are needed, that publicly financed software developed for public sector must be made publicly available under a Free Software licence. Investment in the Free Software ecosystem will pay off quickly while strengthening Europe infrastructure, economy, democracy and civil society alike.” , demands Alexander Sander, FSFE’s Senior Policy Consultant.

The "Public Money? Public Code!" initiative aims to establish Free Software as the standard for publicly funded software. The "Public Money? Public Code!" initiative of the Free Software Foundation Europe is supported by over 200 organizations and administrations.