There are huge benefits in cloud computing – worth hundreds of billions of euros to our economy. Combine that with the power of the single market and we're in for a welcome boost. That's what the European Council recognised when it called for a single market in cloud computing.
As I set out in Bonn this week, revelations about the scale of online spying are shocking, and privacy is a fundamental right. But I am ultimately I'm a pragmatist; maybe it's my Dutch blood. We should take those revelations seriously. But equally let's not be naïve: spying will not be stopped by creating new laws. We need the right technology to protect ourselves effectively.
Two things are also clear to me. We should not turn our backs on this huge opportunity. And we should not put up barriers within our single market. Such barriers would constrain benefits and stop bright ideas from spreading: and indeed if anything they would limit European leadership, so we continue to rely on solutions from overseas.
To meet these challenges some have raised the idea of a "European cloud". But that means different things to different people. Here is what it means to me, as I set out in Berlin today:
I was very pleased with today's meeting. We have a challenging target set by the EU's leaders: but are well on the way to answering it by the first quarter of 2014.