In September 2012, the European Commission adopted a strategy for ”Unleashing the Potential of Cloud Computing in Europe”. The strategy outlines actions to deliver a net gain of 2.5 million new European jobs, and an annual boost of €160 billion to the European Union GDP (around 1%), by 2020. The strategy is designed to speed up and increase the use of cloud computing across all economic sectors. This strategy is the result of an analysis of the overall policy, regulatory and technology landscapes and of a wide consultation with stakeholders, to identify ways to maximise the potential offered by the cloud. 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 implementing these actions. Working groups are already engaged on this.
The strategy includes three key actions:
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 to develop model contract terms that would regulate 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.
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.
The Commission will work with the support of European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) and other relevant bodies to assist the development of EU-wide voluntary certification schemes and establish a list of such schemes by 2014. The Cloud Standards Coordination holds regular meetings to support the cloud standardisation roadmap.
Establishing a European Cloud Partnership
The European Cloud Partnership (ECP) brings together industry and the public sector to work on common procurement requirements for cloud computing in an open and fully transparent way.
The ECP Steering Board provided advice to the Commission on strategic options to turn cloud computing into an engine for sustainable economic growth, innovation and cost-efficient public and private services.
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.
Part of the ECP is the Cloud-for-Europe (C4E) initiative, aiming at helping Europe's public authorities procure cloud products and services, so as to build trust in European cloud computing.
Find out more about the scope and aims of the European Cloud Partnership.