The European Commission has finally published its report which was due under Article 23 of the INSPIRE Directive (2007/2/EC). Together with this report, it presented a detailed evaluation which was carried out in the context of its Regulatory Fitness (REFIT) programme, one of the priorities of the Commission under its Better Regulation agenda.
This evaluation has demonstrated that the INSPIRE Directive is still largely fit-for-purpose, but that further efforts are needed at EU and Member State level to close the significant implementation gaps and to harvest the benefits of the Directive. Moreover, specific issues needing attention concern the data policy provisions in the Directive (Article 17) and requirements and use of some of the technical specifications in the implementing rules (including the streamlining of reporting).
As a consequence, the Commission issues a number of recommendations and actions which it will now implement in close collaboration with the Member States. One important follow up is the preliminary agreement on a Maintenance and Implementation Work Programme 2016-2020 at the last meeting of the policy sub-group on Maintenance and Implementation . This work programme will be refined in the coming months and put forward for agreement at the next meeting on 1/2 December 2016. Moreover, the INSPIRE Conference 2016 will be an important platform to discuss the Commission's report and REFIT evaluation and to gather feedback and input on what actions now need to be taken so that we can all harvest the benefits from this important Directive.