In 2004 the European Interoperability Framework v.1 was published, where, for the first time on the pan-European level, Free Software and proprietary software were treated equally. The EC encouraged the use of Open Standards in e-government services to effectively implement software interoperability both on national and international levels.
The term “Open Standards” is not in use in the European Interoperability Strategy and the EIF v.2, published in 2010. Instead, the EC introduced the term “open specifications” and proposed that“when establishing European public services, public administrations should prefer open specifications, taking due account of the coverage of functional needs, maturity and market support”.
The EC actively promotes public procurement of Free Software: in 2008 and 2010 special guidelines for public administrations on how and why publicly acquire Free Software were published.
Among other important EU documents on Free Software and Open Standards, EU Digital Agenda explicitly states that public procurement of software and ICT should promote efficiency and reduce lock-in.
In the end of 2015, the European Commission started security audits of Free Software it is using under the 'EU-Free and Open Source Software Auditing' (EU-Fossa) project that was initiated by the European Parliament. The project should result in a systematic approach for the EU institutions to ensure that widely-used key Free Software components can be trusted. The project will also enable the EU institutions to contribute to the integrity and security of key Free Software. This includes to involve the Commission in fixing bugs in Free Software components, and that the European Commission regularly inspects widely-used Free Software.
The European Parliament's own-initiative report on "Towards the Digital Single Market Act" adopted in January 2016, which reflects the Parliament's non-binding position on the legislative and political changes proposed by the European Commission in the light of latter's "Digital Single Market Strategy", calls upon the Commission to increase the use of Free Software in public administrations and educational establishments. The report also highlights the security advantages of Free Software.
In the 2017 report, February, “e-democracy in the European Union: potential and challenges”, free software was referenced in its 33rd amendment:
“[The European Parliament] stresses that the development of e-administration should be a priority for Member States and the EU institutions and welcomes the Commission's ambitious and comprehensive e-government action plan, for which proper national implementation and coordination of available EU funding will be key, in synergy with the national digital agencies and authorities ... [The European Parliament] considers that more efforts should be made to encourage open data and the use of ICT tools based on open-source and free software, in both EU institutions and Member States”.
Aside from reports prepared by Europe’s parliament, the European Commission has carried out licensing measures of Free Software. In 2016, the governing body ruled that the EU Public License could be applied for distribution of software by the System for Reporting the Incidents in Offshore and Gas Operations.
The European Union is currently, 2018, proposed with a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on copyright in the Digital Single Market. The proposal poses a warning to Free Software. After Parliament voted the Proposal down for editing in June 2018, there was much campaigning and dispute about the Directive's clauses, especially in its thirteenth article on the topic of "online content sharing providers". The second draft of the Proposal was then voted in with amendments on September 12th, 2018. Parliament managed to amend the Article 13 with exclusions for organisations with "non-commercial" and open(-source) software, only. The finalised and amended proposal is to be the object of negotiation between EU Council and opposition for the concluding plenary vote in January 2019.