The EU’s Secret Weapon could be Open Source Software for Digital Transformation

According to new research published by the European Commission, pursuing a dedicated open-source industrial policy will assist the EU in speed the digital transformation of European business.

Fraunhofer ISI and OpenForum Europe (OFE) collaborated on the study to look at the economic impact of open source software (OSS) and hardware on the EU economy.

According to the OFE, OSS already provides between €65 and €95 billion to the EU’s GDP, which is the equivalent of air and sea transportation combined.

While identifying the strengths, shortcomings, opportunities, and problems of open source in crucial domains such as cybersecurity and artificial intelligence (AI), the research states that EU governments and enterprises have already committed over €1 billion in open source development in 2018.

The paper goes on to provide several recommendations for how OSS can assist the European sector to digitize. One suggestion is to create a European network of government agencies dedicated to accelerating the adoption of open technologies.

The report also recommends infusing cash into “open source support mechanisms and projects” through the Horizon Europe programme, which has a budget of €95.5 billion for 2021-2027.

According to the data, increasing open source contributions by 10% in the EU would generate an additional 0.4 % to 0.6 % (around €100 billion) in GDP, with the OFE hoping that the study will provide policymakers with all the evidence they need to promote open source for the benefit of the EU.