The Data Governance Act is now applicable: what does it mean?

The Data Governance Act entered into force on 23 June 2022 and, after a 15-month transition period, is applicable from this week. It has direct effect, giving the rules direct effect in member states.

Background information

The Data Governance Act (DGA) is a key pillar of the European strategy for data and aims to:

  • increase trust in data sharing;
  • strengthen mechanisms to increase data availability; and
  • remove technical barriers to data re-use.

The public sector holds large amounts of protected data (e.g. personal data and commercially confidential data) that in principle cannot be reused as 'open' data. However, a lot of knowledge can be extracted from such data without affecting its protected nature. The DGA therefore provides rules and safeguards to facilitate such reuse where possible, but does not create obligations to share data.

The DGA plays a central role in facilitating the creation and growth of unified European data ecosystems in key sectors. These data spaces will be used in collaboration between private and public entities and critical domains. These include healthcare, environmental management, energy, agriculture, transport, finance, manufacturing, public administration and workforce development.

The DGA is complemented by the Data Act, another part of the European stratategy for data. The Data Act encourages access for public authorities to data held by private data holders, in case it is "necessary for exceptional circumstances". The Data Act is still going through the legislative process, so more on that another time.

To whom does the legislation apply?

The regulation sets rules at different levels: for the public sector, companies and European citizens. For these parties, it will make it easier to make their data available for the public interest, while maintaining full control over the data.

The regulation also opens up business opportunities for EU companies. Small and large companies will have easy access to data from different member states. This allows companies to acquire, integrate and process this data more cheaply, allowing them to bring new services and products to the market faster. In doing so, the regulation takes fair competition and consumer protection into account.


The DGA will stimulate innovation by setting broad frameworks for the free movement of data within the EU. In particular, it will set conditions for the re-use of protected public data and provide for reliable data access mechanisms. 

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  • Created 27-09-2023
  • Last Edited 27-09-2023
  • Subject Legislation
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