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PSI Directive

What is the PSI Directive?

The Directive (EU) 2019/1024 on open data and the re-use of public sector information known as the PSI Directive, was passed by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union and sets a framework for the distribution of data managed by the public sector in the European Union.

The directive therefore sets out the legal conditions governing access to public sector data. In principle, public sector data must be accessible to everyone by default, without prior justification, although the directive provides for certain exceptions (such as personal data).  

Similarly, the Directive also sets out the technical arrangements for the delivery of public sector data The data must be delivered in open and machine-readable formats. In principle, they can therefore be used via software or applications available without a special licence. Besides, the Directive requires that public sector data be documented by metadata which specify:

  • The content;
  • The institution in charge;
  • The distribution format;

This metadata must also be machine-readable and must comply with certain international standards. This ensures readability for various applications, such as open data portals.

Why was the PSI Directive passed?

The Directive aims to:

  • promote economic dynamism;
  • Deepen the single market;
  • Promote free and undistorted competition;
  • Make the citizens' right to information effective ;
  • improve the quality of information held by the public sector, promoting its widespread use and thus the identification of any errors it contains.

The open sharing of public sector information should help to achieve these objectives. 

How do Belgian authorities meet the objectives of the PSI Directive?

The regions and the federal government are in the process of drafting or have drafted decrees, ordinances or laws to transpose the directive. 

In any case, the various administrations in the country are already working to achieve the objectives of the PSI Directive. For example, the FPS Policy and Support is developing and maintaining a national open data portal that is used by all the country's administrations.  Both data from federal and regional administrations, as well as from various municipal administrations, are documented there and are, in principle, accessible via this portal. The General Administration of Patrimonial Documentation has ensured that all the datasets it maintains are referenced on this portal.

In addition, the regions and communities maintain their own portals, as do some municipalities: 

In addition, the European Commission maintains the European open data portal.