Early July this year, the European Commission published an early impact assessment on a legal framework for the governance of European data spaces.

UM – 08/2020

Data spaces are to be opened up

The EU Commission would like to facilitate better use of the data available in the public sector. In addition, it should be made easier for companies and citizens of the European Union (EU) to make their data available on a voluntary basis. There would be a significant volume of voluntarily disclosed data that could be collected this way. This data is to be pooled together and made usable. The Commission does recognise the need for organisational concepts and structures to achieve this. An overarching framework was needed to avoid detrimental fragmentation of the internal market caused by the lack of synergy between sectors and Member States.

Towards a single data market

In addition, the costs of data use are to be reduced by improving technical interoperability, standardising the steps for data collection and creating units through which data exchange can be organised (data intermediaries). The aim is to increase the overall cross-border availability of data for research and for "innovative users", to further develop the European single data market and to exploit the available data potential. To this end, the management and performance structures for the use of data in business and society must be further strengthened.

European Health Data Space

The initiative is embedded in the European Data Strategypublished February this year. This provides for sector-specific data spaces, which operate on the basis of existing laws such as the General Data Protection Regulation. These data spaces should improve public services. In the health sector, for example, the establishment of a European Health Data Space is envisaged. The "European Health Data Space" is to be created in order to harmonise the handling of health data for doctors and health researchers throughout Europe, thus contributing to health care.

The Commission now intends to examine different options. These range from the exchange of experience between Member States to the obligation of Member States to offer certain support services to research and business. European institutions or organisations could assist them in this respect.


The results of the early impact assessment should be available this month. A legislative proposal for a legal framework for the governance of Common European Data Spaces is announced for the fourth quarter of 2020. Under the Open Data Directive, a procedure for the adoption of an implementing act on high quality data sets could be launched in the first quarter of 2021 to make data sets available in the EU free of charge, in machine-readable form and via standardised Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).