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EU Data Act “Design flaws must be eliminated”


16 Mar 2023

Frankfurt/ Brussels, 14 March 2023 – Commenting on the vote on the EU Data Act in the EU Parliament,

Hartmut Rauen, Deputy Managing Director of VDMA, says:

"The VDMA supports the goal of promoting the use of data in the single market. However, we still see too many risks for the data-based business models of companies in mechanical and plant engineering in the concrete design of the Data Act. The version adopted by the EU Parliament brings small improvements, but the concerns of industrial business are still not sufficiently taken into account.

It is a central design flaw of the Data Act that business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) relationships are not treated in a sufficiently differentiated manner. In B2B relationships, companies face each other and can optimize the conditions for both sides. We need this freedom for shaping  appropriate agreements in industry to be able to map and balance the many situations in our value chains. The Data Act restricts this freedom and makes it more difficult to find the right solution  - in individual contractual relationships, but also in industry-driven data initiatives such as Manufacturing-X.

For the trialogue, VDMA is calling for the Data Act to provide the contractual freedom that is absolutely necessary for B2B data exchange and not to intervene unnecessarily in business relationships. It must also continue to be possible to effectively guarantee the protection of trade and business secrets. In addition to content-related aspects, appropriate transition periods must also be ensured. After all, the Data Act is more than a bureaucratic requirement for most companies, but demands a reassessment of business models as well as the redesign of contracts and products. Done correctly, however, the Data Act can become a fertile ground for a leading European ecosystem of intelligently networked production. Machinery and equipment manufacturing in particular can play a central role here. It would be a shame if this opportunity were to be missed."