Given what has already been achieved under the 2012 European Cloud Strategy, the European Cloud Initiative will focus on:
a European Open Science Cloud: a trusted, open environment for storing, sharing and re-using scientific data and results, and
a European Data Infrastructure: a world-class digital infrastructure to securely access, move, share and process data in Europe.
The Initiative will be complemented by further actions under the Digial 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) set up under the 2012 Cloud Strategy and the Cloud Select Industry Group (C-SIG).
Other initiatives will follow to strengthen the digital economy, such as:
a free flow of data initiative, to remove legal and technical barriers to the free flow of data and data services in the EU - including cloud - and
an initiative on the digitisation of industry that seeks to develop an EU Open Science Cloud and also includes cloud take-up actions, in particular for SMEs. The European Commission identifies the cloud computing standards as one of the five priority areas under the communication on standards.
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 first summary of the input is now available. The Commission is currently analysing the responses received.
An Inception Impact Assessment on the Free Flow of Data initiative was discussed at an Inter-service Steering Group (ISG) meeting on 15 January 2016 and will be published in due course.
Cloud computing is developing fast. Recent 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:
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.