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French Prime Minister Recommends Adoption of OpenDocument Format

eGovernment News cites a recently published report, commissioned by the French Prime Minister, Dominique de Villepin, which strongly recommends that France should follow the example of Belgium and make Open Document Format (ODF) mandatory for all public bodies. The report, 'On equal terms', was prepared for the Prime Minister by the Member of Parliament for the Tarn region, Bernard Carayon. In it, Carayon calls for new legislation to make it compulsory for French government departments to use ODF for the creation and dissemination of documents. He also suggests that France should ask its European partners to do likewise when exchanging documents at a European level. Interoperability and the use of open standards are a precondition of European technological development, stresses the report. It argues that the widespread adoption of ODF would help encourage the development of software which supports ODF, and could create more opportunities for French and European businesses. ODF was approved as an ISO official standard file format in May 2006. Shortly after this, the Belgian federal government adopted a proposal to make ODF the mandatory standard for all internal government documents from September 2008 onwards. Belgium thus became the first Member State to take this important step towards Open Source standards aimed at ensuring the effective delivery of eGovernment services to citizens and enterprises. France now looks likely to follow suit, and other Member States are also examining this possibility closely. Carayon's report also recommends the creation, by the EU, of a body to ensure the technological independence of Europe, and calls for the setting up of a research centre addressing issues relating to the security of open source software.

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