"One of the most surprising recent developments in the field of
openness has been the rise of Europe as a key player there. This is
not the result of some grand plan, despite what the conspiracy
theorists in proprietary software companies might think, but simply
a natural evolution of the European Union itself, and a consequence
of its attempts to become more tightly integrated.
"That's simply not possible unless open standards are used,
since it is plainly impractical to force every member-state to do
things in exactly the same way when it comes to computing. Instead,
an open framework provides the best mix of local freedom--that
strange EU concept of 'subsidiarity'--without sacrificing the
'union' part of the entity's name..."