In order to create a more socially-oriented and climate-friendly digital space, and to ensure the sovereignty of communities and regions, we need digital commons and public infrastructures. We need this in the domains of education and science, public service media, care, and in our economy overall. Policymakers and governments will have to invest and co-create in the society and the economy they would like to see. This means investing massively and collectively in viable alternatives.

With a coordinated approach, Europe has the opportunity to play a determining role in how we shape our digital futures. The public sector will have to invest in and co-create public and digital infrastructures and provide support for smaller collective players to populate the digital ecosystem. A concrete way of doing this is to establish public tech funds and incubator programmes to radically change the digital ecosystem and democratize the digital transition. Back to Stories: tap image.

Public Tech Funds and Public-Commons Partnerships

There have been several initiatives and proposals along the lines of large scale investment in digital public infrastructures. German launched a Sovereign Tech Fund in 2021 to sustainably strengthen the open source ecosystem. Under its Council presidency in 2022, the French proposed a European Digital Commons Foundation, which gained the support of 17 member states. The Netherlands now embraces the Digital Commons in its policy programme and launched an Open Source Program Office in 2022.
A the same time there are proposals from civil society and academia to set up a public digital infrastructure fund and to create incubator programmes and public-commons partnerships. Our democracy depends on the public sector taking its role and responsibility. What steps can institutions and civil society take? What models and strategies can we jointly take up? Here we present the key proposals, initiatives and tools.

Proposals and Initiatives

European Digital Commons Foundation – French Proposal

Towards a Sovereign Digital Infrastructure of Commons

German Sovereign Tech Fund

Aims at supporting the development, improvement and maintenance of open digital infrastructure

Public Digital Infrastructure Agency- Nesta Proposal

A European governance model for Public Digital Infrastructure

Public Digital Infrastructure Fund

This white paper by Open Future identifies the need for a European Public Digital Infrastructure Fund as an instrument for building Digital Public Spaces in Europe.

Tools and Models

Public-Commons Partnerships

Data Commons