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Public hearing on public sector information showed great interest

More than 150 representatives from governments, businesses and user organisation attended the Public Hearing on the European Commission's Green Paper on Public Sector Information in the Information Society. Several issues were raised during the meeting, however many of the par...
More than 150 representatives from governments, businesses and user organisation attended the Public Hearing on the European Commission's Green Paper on Public Sector Information in the Information Society. Several issues were raised during the meeting, however many of the participants stressed the importance of developing a policy initiative at European level.

The public hearing took place in Brussels on 25 May 1999 and it formed the main concluding event in a series of awareness actions undertaken within the broad consultation process regarding the Green Paper on Public Sector Information in the Information Society.

This consultation process has been aimed at establishing the widest possible debate amongst the actors concerned, such as governments, businesses and other user organisations such as privacy protection groups and consumer organisations.

The meeting consisted of four separate sessions:

- Public sector information and addressing citizens' needs;
- The importance of public sector information for European businesses;
- The public sector in the Information Society;
- Priority actions in the European Union.

In order to stimulate discussion, each of these sessions was briefly introduced by a Commission representative Subsequently, the floor was opened for debated. The core of the discussion was clustered around a number of subjects, in particular: possible categorisations of public sector information; pricing; user requirements; education of users; universal services; data protection; standards and metadata; fair competition; copyright; reorganisation of public sector bodies; and transparency.

Mr Verrue, Director General DG XIII, concluded the debate by underlining the many complex interests at stake and the need for the Commission to focus on specific European aspects. He also called upon all participants to submit reactions, enabling the Commission to take further action. In this context, Mr Verrue said that the Commission will produce a communication highlighting the input received.

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