Will the EU become a leader in world Cloud Computing?

 EU strategy for Cloud Computing

Neelie Kroes, Digital Agenda Commissioner

Every European citizen should have a key to their own individual cloud locker to keep personal content securely.

Setting up the European Cloud Partnership

Neelie Kroes speaking at the World Economic Forum

“Cloud Computing will change our economy. It can bring significant productivity benefits to all, right through to the smallest companies, and also to individuals. It promises scalable, secure services for greater efficiency, greater flexibility, and lower cost.

Our flagging economies need us to make the best out of this. We cannot afford anything less. We need to act to support speedy uptake of Cloud Computing in Europe.

This time last year I announced my plan to launch a Cloud Computing Strategy that would make Europe not just Cloud-friendly but Cloud-active.

Since then, consultations with Cloud providers, users and consumers have been extensive. Much work has also been done by interested parties in Europe and with major trading partners to identify the main issues that need to be addressed.

The results are clear: many still hesitate before the Cloud. They worry: how do I know what service I am buying? Will my data be protected? Which providers can I trust? If I don’t like what I am getting, can I switch providers easily? Or, if I really don’t like what I’m getting, can I easily enforce the contract through legal action?

All these issues – standards, certification, data protection, interoperability, lock-in, legal certainty and others – are particularly troublesome for smaller companies. They are the ones who stand to benefit the most from the Cloud – but who don’t have a lot of spending power, nor resources for individual negotiations with Cloud suppliers.

Where these barriers exist, I am determined to overcome them.

We have already made a start on the regulatory side: the Commission has proposed new rules for data protection in the twenty-first century, including for data in the Cloud.

But we can do more. Look at the public sector. Public IT procurement is large, about twenty percent of the market, but today it is fragmented with limited impact. We can harness this buying power through more harmonisation and integration. And, yes, ultimately also through joint public procurement across borders. Why is this important? Because the Cloud sector will listen and adapt, creating benefits for Cloud adoption throughout our economy. For example: more standardised services, new and better offers, cheaper prices. And it is a true win-win: the Cloud market will grow, bringing opportunities for existing suppliers and new entrants. And Cloud buyers, including the public sector, will buy more with less and become more efficient.

How do we get there? Today I am inviting public authorities and industry, Cloud buyers and suppliers, to come together in a European Cloud Partnership”.

The Cloud transforming our economy

Neelie Kroes, European Commission, talking about the great opportunitites of cloud computing – which could provide a boost worth hundreds of euros a year per person in Europe. But too many people & companies are put off using the cloud by uncertainty or a lack of trust. The Commisison’s European cloud strategy will boost that trust, unlock those opportunities – and ensure the economies of scale you only get at a European level.

The European Commission expects that enabling and facilitating faster adoption of cloud computing “…could mean an additional EUR 45 billion of direct spend on Cloud Computing in the EU in 2020 as well as an overall cumulative impact on GDP of EUR 957 billion, and 3.8 million jobs, by 2020.”  

Cloud Computing and opportunity to growth – Regions4Cloud.

Mark Lange, Senior Policy Counsel, Microsoft

Mark Lange at Regions4Cloud in Bruxelles, a Microsoft event for promoting a best practices exchange among european regions from Italy, Spain and Portugal on key issues as digital innovation and Cloud Computing for PA and SMEs.

“Cloud Computing is a evolution in technology that represents an opportunity for economic growth in Europe.”

“The Commission’s strategy is aimed at allowing a rapid and harmonised adoption of cloud computing technology, consolidating the currently fragmented digital single market and overcoming the confusion caused by the jungle of standards that has grown up”.

The moment that regulation and standards are in force across the European Union the louder the level of noise will be heard from concerned Cloud Computing Service Providers.  This stakeholder group will campaign heavily to win a contract to become a  member of the new European Cloud Partnership and one of the approved Cloud Service Providers to Government / Public Agencies.

In these times of fiscal austerity across Southern Europe the concept of a European Cloud will enable cost-savings and realise efficiencies of scale.

The benefits of having a borderless digital delivery capability will enable citizens to access publicly available information securely from any device.

The European Cloud is likely to take shape from 2015 although standards may take far longer to agree.  For me the pace of EU Cloud Partnership implementation will be driven by the demands of EU citizens for cross-border services – online payments. mobility and access to big data.    

In the meantime lets see how digitally connected we are in the EU.

Digital Agenda Scoreboard results 2012


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