From Data Spaces to Data Governance

In February 2020, the European Commission (EC) presented its  European Data Strategy, whose main objectives are to set up European Data Spaces, to create a single market for data and to de-velop an attractive, secure and dynamic data economy. Common European data spaces in the sectors of health, environment, energy, agriculture, mobility, finance, manufacturing, public administration, and skills, will ensure that more data becomes available for use in the economy and society, while keeping the companies and individuals who generate the data in control. The Data Governance Act published by the EC in November 2020, constitutes the first of the legislative proposals presented in the EU Data Strategy and applies to both per-sonal and non-personal data. Its main objectives are to strengthen the availability of data for use by increasing trust in data intermediaries and to stimulate data sharing mechanisms across the EU.

This special issue of the Network Industries Quarterly is dedicated to some of the best papers that were presented at the 11th FSR Annual Conference on the Regulation of Infrastructures “From Data Spaces to Data Governance”. The conference offered a timely occasion to take stock of the progress made in the various network industries towards the objectives outlined in the EU Data Strategy and the Data Governance Act.

The first contribution by Donne examines the impact of data sharing in the electricity sector from the perspectives first of companies and then of public authorities.

Tombal analyses whether two horizontal legislative initiatives sup-porting business-to-government (B2G) data sharing can contribute to environmental protection. More specifically, his paper looks at the voluntary ‘data altruism’ mechanism provided in the Data Governance Act and at the compulsory B2G data sharing obligation for ‘exceptional needs’ provided in the Data Act proposal.

Mannan, Wong and Bietti present research on the impact of data governance legislation on ‘data cooperatives.’ In particular, their paper explores the opportunities and challenges presented by new legislative developments and argues for a shift in how public institutions engage with existing data cooperatives to both cater for their needs and enable bolder forms of collective data management. 

Catanzariti explores the tension between the use of extraterritorial claims for data and the opposite response of data nationalism. Arguing that both are forms of territory-based control, her paper proposes ap-plying a functional approach to data sharing – as an alternative to data location – to the project for an EU cloud.


Teodora Serafimova

Research Associate, Transport Area – Florence School of Regulation, EUI

Separate articles can be downloaded from the links below: