Jochen Friedrich makes up his mind on the EIF v2 that was released shortly before Christmas by the European Commission, a “conciliating” supplement or successor of the EIF v1 which Jochen calls “revolutionary”:
It is a typical phenomenon of political and societal revolutions that they are followed by some period of restoration. … Yet, the analogy stroke me and I was wondering in how far it applies when reading the new version of the European Interoperability Framework (EIF)… The EIF v1 as published by the Commission in 2004 was revolutionary. …It courageously pushed for openness for pan-European eGovernment services taking a strong stance on open standards and promoting open source to be treated on equal footing with proprietary offerings. It had enormous impact within Europe and beyond, inspiring a lot of national interoperability frameworks and policy making worldwide. In other words: it set the scene of what modern requirements on eGovernment infrastructures and on software interoperability in general need to be. … Now the new EIF in combination with the Communication and the EIS is a clever and an extremely balanced document. It is certainly not revolutionary at all. It does not attempt to pursue new horizons, nor move to the next level of interoperability and openness. But it is not a manifestation of a tough restoration, either. It is more a conciliation.
Sure, the value of the first European Interoperability Framework incarnation was that is got exposed to attacks. However, the policy document got hardly read and ressembled more a general work programme. In reality the EIF v1 was an unimportant document barely able to generate substantial results in the field, in particular not in those parts of its contents which were not disputed such as multilinguality. The European Commission regularly releases official “communications” which do not generate direct results but are rather followed by more of the same, the next strategy, green paper, white paper, agenda. Neither the EIF v1 nor the EIF v2 did even reach that minor document status level of a “communication”. To me it looks like India took better conclusions from the EIF v1 as it set up a straight document on interoperability. Most critics and proponents are mislead about the role of the EIF v2 in an overall upcoming EU interoperability architectural framework and fail to see how the EIF v1 was sacrificed, as a decoy we get the EIF v2. These are the recommendations of Jochen which reach out in his wider context of recommendations to value the EIF v2, the supplement to the EIF v1:
1. Drive the development and implementation of open infrastructures for public services which may require the necessary re-engineering of processes.
2. Ensure that the legal framework in Europe is modernised for ICT by allowing the direct use and referencing of fora and consortia standards provided that they meet a certain set of openness criteria.
3. In the context of the EIF and public services, include interoperability, or even better: demonstrated interoperability, as a key requirement in EU policy making and public procurement.
4. In the context of the EIF and public services, foster the implementation of open specifications with multiple implementations on the market place by referencing them in public procurement and in EU policies.