The digital commons: the long-awaited answer for EU digital sovereignty

A trusted partner of government agencies for many years, Red Hat offers a wide range of open source solutions to help government agencies accelerate innovation by unifying people, processes, and technologies.

The world’s leading open source solutions provider, Red Hat leverages a community-based approach to deliver high-performance Linux, cloud, container, and Kubernetes technologies. It helps public actors to standardize their systems on several environments, to develop cloud-native applications as well as to integrate, automate, secure and manage complex environments thanks to recognized assistance, training and consulting services.

Red Hat is represented in the Club by Thomas Belarbi, Strategy & Business Development – Public Sector.

The Council of the European Union, currently chaired by France, has made digital a pillar of its strategy for economic recovery and resilience. And in its journey towards this new digital Europe, it has defined key values on which he intends to rely. Among them: transparency, security and safety, data protection and privacy. So many characteristics that simply cannot be obtained without complete sovereignty, both over the data and over the infrastructures that host and use it. To build this sovereignty, the countries of the Union have an answer: the digital commons.

Behind this term hides the desire to build solutions and infrastructures common to the Member States, with the undisguised objective of competing with the proprietary offers of the cloud computing giants. The digital commons could take a multitude of forms: storage infrastructures, supercomputing platforms, secure private networks, databases, artificial intelligence applications, etc. But all will have the same fundamentals: collaboration between members within an open community and around free software. The EU thus wishes to ensure its digital autonomy by guarding against any confinement (or lock-in), with open source solutions that will give public actors and citizens all the guarantees of reversibility that they are entitled to expect.

A philosophy close to open source

You may have noticed that the approach taken by the EU with the digital commons is extremely close to that which we have been promoting at Red Hat for almost 30 years and which is shared by all players in the open source: the creation of a community of members contributing to the development of a digital asset freely usable by all and whose mechanisms are transparent. By positioning free software at the heart of its digital strategy, the European Union is giving itself the means to retain full control of its future developments and to guarantee its sovereignty over this digital heritage.

16 Member States have already announced that they want to take part in the working group set up by the French Presidency of the Council. In addition to mobilizing the necessary funding, this group will be tasked with setting up a structure for advising and assisting Member States in the use of digital commons. Because the deployment and exploitation of open source technologies on a European scale will undoubtedly require technical skills and appropriate methodologies. As the world’s leading publisher of open source solutions for companies, Red Hat has this ability to derive all the benefits of free software in an international context and in a regulated institutional environment. By combining open technologies, open source methodologies and the expertise of an established free software player, the EU’s digital sovereignty would be on the right track!

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The digital commons: the long-awaited answer for EU digital sovereignty


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