The Regulation of Data Spaces under the EU Data Strategy: Towards the ‘Act-ification’ of the Fifth European Freedom for Data?


  • Andrés Chomczyk Penedo Vrije Universiteit Brussel


The development of a data-driven digital economy in the EU is based on data-sharing. However, the current scenario is marked by fragmented data silos and big tech dominance, hindering data interoperability in the Digital Single Market. Regulatory efforts have begun addressing this by reducing platform data control and enhancing user empowerment, promoting data portability rights in different legal instruments. Nevertheless, a unified data-sharing infrastructure is essential for the efficacy of these measures. Data spaces are anticipated to provide the needed technical framework, supported by emerging legal regulations to ensure free information movement through this infrastructure. This development raises the question of whether a new EU fundamental freedom is being established, specifically for data. The existing four freedoms – movement of goods, capital, services and people – have been instrumental in shaping the Digital Single Market. However, the progression of societal digitalisation might necessitate a distinct data-centric freedom. This article examines whether the EU’s strategies and regulations are evolving towards a fifthfundamental freedom for data, potentially acting as a cohesive force for various data-related initiatives.






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