MIWP-Action #2875

2016.1: INSPIRE fitness for purpose โ€“ Analysis

Added by Michael Lutz almost 4 years ago. Updated over 3 years ago.

Status:ClosedStart date:01 Sep 2016
Priority:NormalDue date:31 Dec 2016
Assignee:Joeri Robbrecht% Done:




Member States and stakeholders have repeatedly expressed concerns regarding the (perceived) complexity of the INSPIRE data models and guidelines, in particular for Annex III, and the expected difficulty to have them implemented by the 2020 deadline. In the report to Council and European Parliament, the Commission is recommended to "review, and possibly revise, the INSPIRE rules, in particular on spatial data harmonisation, to take into account the implementing risks and complexities with a view to reducing them (simplification of requirements)".

While many of the actions in the current MIWP are already aiming at simplifying INSPIRE implementation for stakeholders in the Member States (e.g. through improvement of and additional Technical Guidance, development of tools and best practices), no systematic screening of the requirements in the legal and technical framework and of the implementation practices and concrete difficulties in the Member States has taken place yet. Such a screening would allow collecting the practical experiences with the implementation, in particular the implementing rules and the guidelines since 2008. 

At the same time, the work programme 2016-2020 aims at making INSPIRE more user-centric. Hence, any investigation into possibilities for simplification should not be a theoretical exercise, but based on existing implementation experience and concrete requirements from end-user applications, in order to make INSPIRE more fit for purpose.

Ideally fit for purpose and simplification go hand in hand. DSM and other digital drivers have big political leverage and critical resource mass behind them that can deliver the necessary capacity for further INSPIRE implementation. As already indicated by several MS (MIG-P, MIG-T, Action plans ...), aligning INSPIRE with the principles set out in these initiatives would allow MS to focus resources on the development of a generic information infrastructure ready to be harvested for environmental end-user applications and use cases such as reporting, while at the same time the objectives for the INSPIRE Directive can be aligned with Commission priorities.

Proposed action:

The action aims at systematically analyzing and reviewing INSPIRE requirements in the legal (implementing rules) and technical (guidelines, etc) framework and of the implementation practices and concrete difficulties in the Member States, with the aim to identify and propose to the MIG possible measures for streamlining and simplification of INSPIRE implementation. 

The analysis should not be a theoretical exercise, but pragmatic and based on concrete implementation experience in the Member States. It is therefore important that feedback from all levels of the implementation, the policy makers and the actual implementers in public authorities will be collected. It should also aim at a differentiated view, investigating the situation for different themes and Member States. Suggestions for simplification already made by some Member States can be tabled as written input to the review. 

The approach to the review and the preparation of proposed actions shall take into account the existing and relevant legal provisions of the INSPIRE Directive (e.g. Article 7.2 regarding feasibility and proportionality), the outcome of the Commission's REFIT evaluation and the Better Regulation Guidelines (COM(2015)111), which provide a methodological framework for assessing "fitness for purpose". 

Based on the analysis, one or several follow up actions will be proposed, which will be discussed and, if relevant, endorsed by the MIG-P or the Commission, following consultation of the Committee (depending on the nature of the proposed action). 

For example, such measures may include, but are not be limited to:

  • proposals for simplifying the requirements in the Implementing Acts and/or Technical Guidelines,
  • developments of tools supporting INSPIRE implementation and/or usage of INSPIRE data and services (e.g. for complex GML schemas),
  • additional guidance and/or best practices, e.g. on the harmonization of national implementation approaches (e.g. definition and provision of national reference data sets) or on the harmonization of  thematic priority setting for implementation,
  • setting up implementation roadmap(s), based on different implementation levels and concrete use-case-driven priorities at different levels of governance (e.g. use cases for environmental reporting at EU level, management of an underground cadaster and/or utility network infrastructure at national level, cross-border flood management or air quality observation and forecasts at regional or local level, etc.),
  • documentation of good implementation examples, reference implementations and answers to FAQs.

For each proposed measure, the likely impact (e.g. on the existing legal and technical framework and on existing implementations in the MS or information on costs or benefits) should be described as much as possible within the available timeframe. If any proposed action would require more in depths analysis of such impact, this should be highlighted as well. Also, possible dependencies, impacts and synergies with other MIWP actions should be considered.

Organisational set-up:

The analysis of issues and development of measures and new MIWP actions to be proposed to MIG will be carried out by DG ENV and the JRC in close collaboration. 

The action should be supported by a dedicated temporary MIG sub-group "fitness-for-purpose review" based on the mandate set out here. This sub-group will receive input from experts of all Member States, including the policy level, the implementers and the technical experts.

The group should consist of volunteers of the MIG-P and the MIG-T that are well aware of the implementation in their country (in all thematic domains) and across borders. They should also be familiar with the legal, technological and organisational approach proposed for INSPIRE implementation. The aim is to have a small, operational sub-group (10-15 MS participants + ENV, JRC and EEA) with a good geographic distribution across Europe.

The main communications will mainly take place electronically but 1-2 face-to-face workshops are planned between September and November 2016 (either in Ispra or in Brussels). The meetings will discuss the analysis and proposed measures and prepare a document for the next MIG-P meeting.

The sub-group will also design a simple questionnaire which will allow collecting views and inputs from all Member States. Once agreed, the questionnaire will be circulated to all MIG-P and MIG-T members and feedback will be expected in October, at the latest. The sub-group will then compile and review the input and take them into account when finalizing its proposals. The questionnaire could also allow others, e.g. users, other administrations, businesses, international organizations (with through the webpage or at the INSPIRE conference) to provide feedback. This needs to be discussed and agreed in the light of time and resource availability. 


  • Review the Commission's REFIT evaluation and identify relevant aspects for this action. 
  • Prepare questionnaire to systematically gather input from all Member States on which elements of the INSPIRE Directive work well and which my need attention (e.g. which implementing rule, which guideline, which other aspect) and collect suggestions for simplification. 
  • Review feedback from questionnaires and outcome of other input received and identify those priority areas which need most urgent attention.   
  • Identify (additional) obstacles to implementation not identified in the Commission's REFIT evaluation, features in the INSPIRE framework that are not being used and opportunities for streamlining through feedback from the working group members as well as desktop studies (e.g. analysing issues raised in the past by MIG, and MIG sub-groups e.g. current Proposal for changes to the INSPIRE Data specification (IR,TG), MS action plans, M&R 2016, the mid-term evaluation survey and the minutes of the bilateral meeting with MS). 
  • Develop proposals for streamlining and simplification, including an analysis of the potential impact, as far as possible within the available timeframe.
  • Draft document for MIG-P (or Committee, if appropriate) with proposal for MIWP actions for 2017 and beyond.


This action / sub-group will prepare a discussion document by November 2016 with the following elements:

  • List of issues/obstacles/requirements including their proposed solutions 
  • List of proposed MIWP action(s) for 2017 and beyond  for implementing the proposals for streamlining and simplification







#1 Updated by Michael Lutz almost 4 years ago

  • Status changed from New to Proposed

#2 Updated by Michael Lutz almost 4 years ago

  • Status changed from Proposed to Work in progress

#3 Updated by Michael Lutz over 3 years ago

  • Project changed from INSPIRE helpdesk to MIWP 2016-2020

#4 Updated by Joeri Robbrecht over 3 years ago

  • % Done changed from 20 to 90

#5 Updated by Michael Lutz over 3 years ago

  • Status changed from Work in progress to Closed
  • % Done changed from 90 to 100

The action was formally closed in the 6th MIG meeting on 13-14 June 2017.

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