The European Association of Co-operative Banks (EACB) participated with great interest in the Commission consultation on a European Strategy for Data. The EACB and its members in principle share the Commission view about the need of an overarching EU data strategy to enable the digital transformation of the society. They support the idea of a European approach to avoid national regulatory fragmentation and to benefit from an effect of scale and are convinced that high data quality and data interoperability are substantial success factors.
However, it should be taken into account that there are already several pieces of legislation addressing the use of "data" such as the success story of the GDPR but also the Database Directive and many sector-specific regulations such as the PSD2 for the financial services sector, which reveal the danger of overlapping, fragmented, inconsistent or redundant regulations. A Data Act 2021 in principle provides the opportunity to create an “umbrella function” to consolidate and facilitate all aforementioned initiatives. Such an initiative should be based on the European principles of a market economy with freedom of contract and a level playing field for all economic actors with a fair business model for all participants to avoid disadvantages for sustainable existing financial sectors business models as e.g. such of the co-operative banks in Europe.
To achieve the defined goals it is essential to distinguish where the data are coming from: i.e. whether they were created in the public sector or by firms in the market economy. Data sharing" cannot be a one-way street, in which one part of the market has to give access without the need of a business model and without a fair compensation of the costs to another part of the market which is free to monetise the obtained access to data.