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Part 2 – French Digital Council Releases Its “Digital Ambition” Report

BXP25363h_mainIn the second part of the French Digital Ambition Report (the “Report”), entitled “towards a new concept of public action: openness, innovation, participation“, the French Digital Council highlights the need to induce public authorities to act with more transparency and efficiency. The 15 practical recommendations in this section focus on opening up and digitalizing public services, notably to improve transparency and participation of citizens, as well as opening up public data to support innovation, the sharing of information and experiences.

The third part of the Report is dedicated to the promotion of French growth “towards an economy of innovation“. The French Digital Council makes recommendations to reform European law in order to harmonize the notion of innovation and to create a European “Innovation Act” (recommendation no. 33) notably to bring more flexibility in public procurement rules and state aid legislation. At national level, the funding policies (legal and tax frameworks) and the State’s actions (public procurements, State aids, etc.) should be adapted to new forms of innovation.

Finally, the last part of the Report makes recommendations to face “the challenges of a digital society” which are solidarity, equity and empowerment. The French Digital Council advises developing citizen empowerment, to support collaborative practices, to use digital technology to reduce social disparities and to rethink our collective systems to simplify and optimize them, notably in the Health, Education and Justice sectors.

According to the French Digital Council, this Report aims to feed Government decisions and future legislation. The future Digital Technology bill would be the natural means to implement these recommendations but should not be the only one according to the Council. The French Digital Council notably mentions European reforms and intends to advise the European Commission as well as the French Government.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls announced on 18 June 2015 that the Digital Technology bill should be submitted to the French National Assembly in Autumn 2015. It should contain some of the Report’s recommendations. Prime Minister Manuel Valls mentioned in particular net neutrality and platform regulation as part of the Government’s national strategy in the digital sector. The Prime Minister also announced that the Government will release a draft bill in July 2015 to allow a “public proofreading” of the text prior to actually submitting a finalised version to the French Council of State. By submitting what has been described as a “beta version” of the bill to the public before the actual review by the French Council of State, the Government already implements some of the recommendations of the Report, notably to give citizens a chance to participate in the making of the law.