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.

The recent evidence provided in the study on the "Uptake of Cloud in Europe" confirms the increasing adoption of cloud services in the EU by industry according to the size of their business and country of origin.  Furthermore, the research indicates that from 2015 to 2020 cloud computing can create 1 million new jobs in Europe.  This potential was a significant factor in the development of the Commission's strategy for a Digital Single Market, such that cloud has a prominent and visible role to enhance the digital economy.

With this more prominent role come more challenges.

We need Europe-wide solutions.  We need scale.  We need cross-border opportunities for business and citizens to make sure that Europe remains competitive with other major world economies.

In particular, we need to prevent economic loss from different national rules and practices, and we need to ensure that digital services and technologies can operate across national borders by ensuring a free flow of data.  We have to ensure that individuals and businesses can seamlessly access and use online services that are offered in a competitive environment and provide a high level of security and data protection.

Those issues of security and data protection are central to our plans – without them we will not build the trust and confidence in cross-border data services that is necessary for them to thrive.

We need to ensure that this trust and confidence also prevails in public administrations and public services.  So part of our Cloud initiative will be a flexible framework for cloud resources to be combined together into a European capability of cloud services that can be used by public sector organisations and beyond.

This framework should lay the foundation for trust: security, data protection, and privacy to support a wide range of uses whilst adhering to policies to be easily service customisable.  It should be based on private and public sector cloud resources, using certified, industry recognised, worldwide plug-and-play tools and technologies.

So those are our objectives; but there is a lot of preparatory work to do before we can put proposals finally on the table! To do that we need to discuss and consult with the communities and stakeholders who will be involved in the initiative and affected by it.  Given the new larger scope and impact of the initiative, we need to involve even more players in different sectors.

We will build on the experience from the European cloud computing strategy of 2012 that included full stakeholder involvement through the Cloud Select Industry Group and the European Cloud Partnership. We will seek to ensure that the views and needs of Start-ups and SMEs across all Member States and sectors are heard, so that we have a clear and dynamic understanding of the challenges in this rapidly evolving sector.

Because of cloud's evolving nature, we will continue to prioritise co- and self-regulation initiatives by the industry, while ensuring that the highest levels of security and data protection are maintained in accordance with EU law. We need to discuss with all interested parties the new cyber-solutions that are needed and how they will rely on cloud services.

Trustworthy cloud relies on shared responsibility between the user & service provider depending on the service.  We need to engage all interested parties to foster strong relationships between them to build trust in cloud that will drive economic growth in the Digital Single Market.

And we will live up to our commitments under the Commission's new Better Regulation policies, by ensuring proper study, preparation and consultation of any draft proposals. To start with, along with several other actions under the DSM, we plan to launch a full consultation process in September, and before that we will publish our "inception impact analysis" (the roadmap of how we are going to prepare the proposal and analyse its potential impacts) in July.

So this is an invitation to get ready. We want all stakeholders and interested parties on board, to respond to our consultations, to guide us, so that we get this essential element of the Digital Single Market right!