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 EUR 160 billion to EU GDP (around 1%), by 2020. The strategy is designed to speed up and increase the use of cloud computing across the economy. This strategy was the result of an analysis of the overall policy, regulatory and technology landscapes and of a wide consultation of stakeholders, undertaken to identify what needs to be done to make the most of the potential that the cloud has to offer us. 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 were created and are already working on this.
Find out more about the strategy and check out an overview of the working groups. 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 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.
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.
The European Cloud Partnership (ECP) brings together industry experts and public sector users to work on common procurement requirements for cloud computing in an open and fully transparent way.
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.
Find out more on the scope and aims of the ECP.
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 on C4E.