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European data governance

A new European way of data governance, which is fully in line with EU values and principles, will bring significant benefits to EU citizens and companies.

The proposed Regulation on data governance, adopted by the Commission on 25 November 2020, will boost data sharing across sectors and Member States.

A key pillar of the Data Strategy, this new way of data governance will increase trust in data sharing, strengthen mechanisms to increase data availability and overcome technical obstacles to the reuse of data.

The regulation will also support the set-up and development of common European data spaces in strategic domains, involving both private and public players: health, environment, energy, agriculture, mobility, finance, manufacturing, public administration and skills.


The initiative aims to make more data available and facilitate data sharing across sectors and Member States in order to leverage the potential of data for the benefit of European citizens and businesses.

For example:

  • Good data management and data sharing will enable industries to develop innovative products and services, and will make many sectors of the economy more efficient and sustainable. It is also essential for training AI systems.
  • With more data available, the public sector can develop better policies, leading to more transparent governance and more efficient public services.
  • Data-driven innovation will bring benefits for companies and individuals by making our lives and work more efficient through:
    • Health data: improving personalised treatments, providing better healthcare, and helping cure rare or chronic diseases; saving approximately €120 billion a year in the EU health sector; providing a more effective and quicker response to the global COVID-19 health crisis;
    • Mobility data: saving more than 27 million hours of public transport users’ time and up to €20 billion a year in labour costs of car drivers thanks to real-time navigation; 
    • Environmental data: combatting climate change, reducing CO2 emissions and fighting emergencies, such as floods and wildfires;
    • Agricultural data: developing precision farming, new products in the agro-food sector and new services in general in rural areas;
    • Public administration data: delivering better and more reliable official statistics, and contributing to evidence-based decisions.

How will this work in practice?

The EU will boost the development of trustworthy data-sharing systems through four broad sets of measures:

  • Mechanisms to facilitate the reuse of certain public sector data that cannot be made available as open data. For example, the reuse of health data could advance research to find cures for rare or chronic diseases.
  • Measures to ensure that data intermediaries will function as trustworthy organisers of data sharing or pooling within the common European data spaces.
  • Measures to make it easier for citizens and businesses to make their data available for the benefit of society.
  • Measures to facilitate data sharing, in particular to make it possible for data to be used across sectors and borders, and to enable the right data to be found for the right purpose. 

Impact across the EU

The regulation on data governance will be a powerful engine for innovation and new jobs. It will allow the EU to ensure that it is at the forefront of the second wave of innovation based on data. 

Society as a whole will benefit from more evidence-based policies and better solutions to societal challenges, such as climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Businesses will benefit from a reduction in costs for acquiring, integrating and processing data, and from lower barriers to enter markets. They will also see a reduction in time-to-market for novel products and services. This will enable small and large firms alike to develop new data-driven products and services. 

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