Neelie KROES
Vice-President of the European Commission

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Cloud computing: building a European cloud partnership

Last week I was in Davos at the World Economic Forum. A chance to speak with many interesting people and gain a lot of real insight about trends in the wider world. You can read my impressions from some of those meetings elsewhere on this blog . But a principal reason for being there was to announce an exciting new initiative on cloud computing – the European Cloud Partnership. An important step forward to making the EU not just cloud friendly, but cloud-active. Here's my announcement in detail: In particular the European Cloud Partnership focuses on the role of the public sector. The cloud can have many uses for this sector – from healthcare to the home, to tools for teachers, to a platform for the wealth of open public data. So this partnership will help the cloud work for the public sector—and help the public sector work for the cloud. Because by using the leverage of this 20% of the market, we can provide reassurance on issues like trust, interoperability, and legal liability—and thereby use it as a showcase for the other 80%. I'm delighted with the positive response to this announcement from players like SAP, Digital Europe, EuroCloud, OpenForum Europe, TechAmerica Europe, Google, and others. And being in Davos meant we were able to have a very interesting and informed discussion on the cloud more generally – issues like the balance between security and efficiency. And like how to give firms the right incentives to invest in security and trust – whether it's through security breach notification requirements, insurance products, contractual liability rules or simply the need to preserve hard-won brand reputation. I was also reminded of the many benefits the cloud can offer in unexpected areas: for example, how distributing your data can help build resilience in disaster response (a lesson from post-Fukushima Japan). This is not the only thing we've announced recently relating to the cloud. As I trailed back in January, the Commission has a new proposal on data protection – a proposal which offers many benefits for the cloud. Notably it will: - put people in control of their personal data, able to correct or delete it, or get access to it in an easily-usable, transferable format; - make it easier to operate a cloud across the EU, with a single point of contact; and - make it easier to operate outside the EU, too, with simplified and more consistent rules. All the time we need to keep a sense of proportion, and so, where possible, we have lessened the burdens on data controllers. All in all, making it easier to protect fundamental rights and build trust in the cloud age. Plus I've also stressed the role the cloud could play for copyrighted material – and in ensuring the models used within the cloud provide reward and recognition for artists. I want to look at the barriers to flourishing content businesses within the cloud – both for providers and right-holders. The cloud has the capacity to make lives easier for many of us, including the smallest of businesses. But to achieve that requires us to take many different policy areas and really test them to make sure they are as cloud-compatible as they can be. So these elements, and more besides, will all be appearing in our comprehensive cloud strategy – due out before the summer.


  • My main issue regarding the cloud is that I want my data in an EU cloud to NOT go outside the EU.   I do not care about 'safe harbour' agreements with extra-EU countries. I DO NOT WANT NON-EU AUTHORITIES TO HAVE ACCESS TO MY DATA, period.  I trust the EU and have a say in the EU, I do not trust or have a say in extra-EU jurisdictions.   The like of the USA have closed down clouds at their whim (MegaUploads, etc). I do not want access to my legal data to be blocked by some extra-EU authority, ergo, I want EU-centric clouds where extra-EU authorities no say.
  • The Cloud is a very loose term. By Cloud we can can mean Cloud based services, infrastructure, applications etc.  Can you please point me to a direction where I can read the ideas goals in details and see the big picture?  Thanks allot
  • How can you access your data when you store it in the cloud?
  • I am glad to hear of EU initiatives for cloud computing   I am from the US and I realize we may be 18-24 months ahead of you... but that may be a good thing for the EU.  As cloud pioneers, we've learned the good and the bad about cloud computing.  The EU can learn from us and just avoid the practices that did not work. I will be discussing some of these business and  technology perspectives of cloud computing at the ISG "Cloud, Social and Mobile - Redefining Enterprise IT"  June 25-27

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