01.10.2012 [News]

Unleashing the Potential of Cloud Computing in Europe

The Commission aims at enabling and facilitating faster adoption of cloud computing throughout all sectors of the economy in order to boost the productivity, growth and jobs.

On the basis of an analysis of the overall policy, regulatory and technology landscapes and a wide consultation of stakeholders, undertaken to identify what needs to be done to achieve that goal, the European Commission endorsed a communication on ”Unleashing the Potential of Cloud Computing in Europe”. This document sets out the most important and urgent additional actions. It represents a political commitment of the Commission and serves as a call on all stakeholders to participate in the implementation of these actions.

The strategy includes three key actions regarding:
  • Standards and Certification
  • Contract terms and Conditions
  • European Cloud Partnership.

Cutting through the Jungle of Standards

Cutting through the jungle of technical standards so that cloud users enjoy interoperability, data portability and reversibility is one of the aims of the strategy. Necessary standards need to be identified by 2013.

The Commission will work with the support of ENISA and other relevant bodies to assist the development of EU-wide voluntary certification schemes and establish a list of such schemes by 2014.

Safe and Fair Contract Terms and Conditions

The Commission's proposal for a Regulation on a Common European Sales Law addresses many of the obstacles stemming from diverging national sales law rules by providing contractual parties with a uniform set of rules. The proposal includes rules adapted to the supply of "digital content" that cover some aspects of cloud computing.

The aim of the cloud computing strategy is the development of model contract terms to cover issues not covered by the Common European Sales Law such as:

  • data preservation after termination of the contract,
  • data disclosure and integrity,
  • data location and transfer,
  • ownership of the data,
  • direct and indirect liability change of service by cloud providers and subcontracting.

Identifying and disseminating best practices in respect of model contract terms will accelerate the take-up of cloud computing by increasing the trust of prospective consumers.

Establishing a European Cloud Partnership to drive innovation and growth from the public sector

The public sector has a key role to play in shaping the cloud computing market. But with the public sector market fragmented, its requirements have little impact, services integration is low and citizens do not get the best value for money.

This year, the European Commission is therefore setting up a European Cloud Partnership (ECP), bringing together industry expects and public sector users to work on common procurement requirements for cloud computing in an open and fully transparent way.

The ECP aims at driving the first steps towards better public procurement of cloud services in Europe, based on common definitions of requirements and possibly eventually going as far as joint procurement across borders. This should make the public sector more effective, i.e. save money and do more with less, while it would also stimulate a European cloud industry.

Pooling public requirements could bring higher efficiency and common sectoral requirements (e.g. eHealth,social care,assisted living, eGovernment services) would reduce costs and enable interoperability. The private sector would also benefit from higer quality services, more competition, rapid standardisation and better interoperability and market opportunities for high-tech SMEs.

To find out more on the scope and aims of the ECP, read this speech on "Setting up the European Cloud Partnership" given by Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda, at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland in February 2012.

Further information

Source: European Commission