European OSS Policy as a Countermeasure to Big Tech Dominance - European Champions Alliance
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European OSS Policy as a Countermeasure to Big Tech Dominance

European OSS Policy as a Countermeasure to Big Tech Dominance

Comparative Approach to Big Tech Regulation (Spring 2023) – Science Po Paris

This policy brief examines the role of open-source software (‘OSS’) in the European
Union (‘EU’) and its potential to enhance digital sovereignty, innovation and

OSS offers several advantages over proprietary software, such as:

  • Lower costs and higher efficiency;
  • Greater transparency and security;
  • More alignment with European values and principles.

However, the paper identifies several challenges that OSS faces, such as:

  • Lack of awareness and visibility about the current and potential roles of open source;
  • Lack of funding and incentives to contribute;
  • Governance problems in open source project communities.

The paper reviews existing legal frameworks and policy initiatives at the EU and
national levels that support OSS development and adoption. It highlights:

  • The licence system that facilitates the sharing and reuse of OSS across public
  • The Open Source Software Strategy 2020-2023 that outlines the EU’s vision and
    actions for OSS;
  • The German Sovereign Tech Fund that provides financial and technical support
    for OSS projects.

The brief concludes with some policy recommendations to improve the current
strategy and foster a more robust and diverse OSS ecosystem in Europe to fully
harness the benefits of open source software.

The recommendations include:

  • Inverting the standards for public procurement of proprietary software and
    prioritising OSS solutions;
  • Improving software catalogues for trusted OSS and increasing their usability;
  • Integrating OSS into EU strategic goals and programmes, such as open
    science, Horizon Europe, Next Generation Internet, and Interoperable Europe
  • Scaling up the Sovereign Tech Fund model at transnational, national and
    regional levels to address specific needs and opportunities.

Access the full report here

Andrea Vaugan