Digital Single Market
Digital Economy & Society

Cloud computing

Within the Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe, the key role of cloud computing is established through the European Cloud Initiative and through the initiative on Building a European Data Economy. The latter seeks to establish a free flow of data in Europe, as well as facilitating portability of data and switching of cloud service providers.

The European Cloud Initiative focuses on:

The Initiative builds on the results achieved under the 2012 European Cloud Strategy. It is complemented by other initiatives under the Digital Single Market (DSM) to promote the development and uptake of cloud services, focusing on certification, switching of cloud service providers and security. These actions incorporate input from the European Cloud Partnership (ECP) and the Cloud Select Industry Group (C-SIG).

Other initiatives to strengthen the digital economy include:

  • The Communication on Building a European Data Economy, which supports the free flow of data and data services in the EU by examining options to remove legal and technical barriers - including cloud. During the first months of 2017, the European Commission will consult groups concerned by free flow of data issue. On the basis of the evidence gathered, the Commission will propose adequate steps.
  • The initiative on the digitisation of industry includes cloud take-up actions, in particular for SMEs. The European Commission has identified cloud computing standards as one of the five priority areas under the Communication on standards.
  • The internet connectivity package within Digital Single Market actions is intended to provide secure, ubiquitous and high-quality (Gigabit) connectivity that will boost the usage of cloud-based services and applications.

The public consultation on the regulatory environment for platforms, online intermediaries, data and cloud computing and the collaborative economy closed on 6 January 2016. A summary of the input is available.

Cloud computing evolution

Cloud computing is developing fast. Estimates indicate that these developments could lead to the growth of the European cloud market from €9.5bn in 2013 to €44.8bn by 2020, i.e. almost five times the market size in 2013.

The latest Eurostat data available (end of 2014) shows the current state of play in the European Union regarding the use of cloud computing by enterprises. The main findings are summarised below:

  • 19 % of EU enterprises used cloud computing in 2014, mostly for hosting their e-mail systems and storing files in electronic form.
  • 46 % of those firms used advanced cloud services relating to financial and accounting software applications, customer relationship management or to the use of computing power to run business applications.
  • Four out of ten enterprises (39 %) using the cloud reported the risk of a security breach as the main limiting factor in the use of cloud computing services.
  • A similar proportion (42 %) of those not using the cloud reported insufficient knowledge of cloud computing as the main factor that prevented them from using it.

The development of the cloud computing market and the efficient delivery of cloud services particularly depend on the ability to build economies of scale. The establishment of a Digital Single Market will unlock the scale necessary for cloud computing to reach its full potential in Europe.


The European Union also supports the development of cloud computing in Europe with research and innovation actions under the Horizon 2020 programme.

Last updated on 10/01/2017 - 11:47


Pietro Michiardi's picture
Software and technologies addressing the challenges of Big Data have flourished in the past decade. How does the BIGFOOT project fit into these developments?
Levent Gurgen's picture
A great recognition for the first jointly funded Europe-Japan collaborative project on emerging important topics such as IoT, Cloud Computing and Smart Cities
Michel Drescher's picture
The recent workshop hosted by EIT Digital in Berlin on 7 & 8 November 2016 presented the latest approaches to support standardisation of reliability and resilience for cloud services.
Mario Campolargo's picture
Net Futures 2016 (20 & 21 April in Brussels) will explore the role of Future Internet in creating an innovative Digital Single Market with a particular focus on the impact of the next generation Internet technologies on Digital Economy
Tanya Nikolova's picture
The ICT industry is playing an increasingly important role in the global economy. Europe is in the lead in developing different ICT components. But how can Europe be in the lead of developing digital technology?
Pearse O'donohue's picture
The potential for innovation and growth that cloud computing represents was a key factor in the Commission's thinking in preparing the Digital Single Market strategy. We are starting to prepare a European Cloud initiative, which will address a number of important issues to provide trust and confidence and to enhance cloud take-up, as well as another action ensuring the free-flow of data. To get these measures right, and to ensure that we let cloud providers and cloud service users give their input to this work, we will engage in a comprehensive and transparent consultation process over the coming months.
Vladimir Bataev's picture
Vladimir BATAEV
MobiCloud project encourages startups and university students to challenge the problems faced by the construction industry and take part in this mobile app competition, which has already attracted submissions from 8 countries (and counting!)
Francisco Medeiros's picture
Francisco MEDEIROS
Today, cloud services are a commonplace for sending emails, sharing photos or watching movies. People and businesses are entering the cloud more than ever before. We need to continue doing more research in this field also beyond 2015. This is why the European Commission seeks everyone's opinion, especially from researchers, scientists and developers, on priorities for this research.
Silvana Muscella's picture
Imagine tripping up in your favourite pair of stilettos - unthinkable right?! Well the EU Cloud Scout lets SMEs stroll through a simple online tool providing them with guided, tailored information and recommendations on their use of Cloud without tripping up along the way.
Ana Juan Ferrer's picture
Atos has elaborated on a European industry perspective on Service Level Agreements to support more detailed definitions, applicable to both private and public sector, and bridging the two domains together with a standard taxonomy of SLA terms. Atos perspective has been contributed to current works Cloud Select Industry Group on Service Level Agreements and as part of Atos contributions to European Cloud Partnership Steering board. Atos perspective strongly relies on Atos contributions to related F7 Research Projects such as OPTIMIS, OPTIMIS: Optimized Infrastructure Services and Cloud4SOA.
Xavier Aubry's picture
Xavier AUBRY
Mobile cloud application project funded under the CIP framework wins 4 awards at the 12th annual Mobile Star Awards.
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