Critics say EU guidelines on avoiding software vendor tie-in ignored by Slovak authorities

Company facing stark choice: pay fine or buy Microsoft Windows

Free software advocates are criticizing the move to penalize a company in Slovakia for failing to submit official documents via a system that only works with Microsoft software.

Eura Slovakia, a textile importer, faces €5600 (US$7,300) in fines because it filed its tax returns on paper rather than the required online method.

Since January 2010, Slovakia has required monthly tax reports on VAT (value added tax) to be filed electronically and signed by a certified electronic signature. Since many companies don't have certified electronic signatures, the authorities offer a special Web-based application called eDane.

However, the eDane application only works with Windows. According to the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE), it would not run on any other OS including Apple and Linux. For electronic signatures, Eura they would need software that signs the keys. The problem is that so far, only Windows applications are certified by the state, as there was no request for certification of an application for other systems. So right now, Windows is also needed for electronic signatures, the FSFE pointed out.

The director of Eura, František Slivka, claims the authorities are effectively forcing him to buy Windows or face a fine. The FSFE, which is supporting Slivak, issued a statement calling the situation "absurd" and said that state bodies should not promote individual vendors.

"Public administrations should use a multi-platform technical solution based on open standards that is available for everybody," said Martin Husovec, of FSFE Legal.

The situation also flies in the face of the European Commission's recommendations in the European Interoperability Framework, which says that national public services "need to be more aware of the risk of creating new electronic barriers if they opt for solutions that are not interoperable."

Eura is appealing against the fines.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?