The joint declaration signed by 25 EU Member States (including Ireland) commits to the establishment of a competitive and resilient cloud service across Europe (the Joint Declaration).
The need for European based cloud services
The European Commission’s data strategy aims to create a single market for industrial data and this ‘cloud alliance’ will be a key step to achieving that goal. Cloud computing is an essential service for emerging technologies and data driven innovation in areas such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of things and 5G/6G.
The development of a European cloud infrastructure is arguably a more transparent and assertive confirmation of broader EU strategy, which has been evident for some time, to reduce dependency on foreign technology providers. Currently, the provision of cloud-based services is dominated by large US companies such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft who have been the principal innovators and dominant players in the provision of cloud services for several years.
The Joint Declaration states that a competitive and secure European cloud service is essential to ensure trustworthy data processing infrastructure and services are available to all citizens, businesses and public administrations in the EU. This cloud service will ensure data is stored and accessed safely, within the EU and in accordance with EU rules and standards.
Joint action across Member States
The signatories to the Joint Declaration recognise that investment, a coordinated strategy and synergies across national initiatives are crucial in the development of a European cloud sector that is attractive to both public and private sector bodies.
The Member States have agreed to focus on three main areas of action:
1. Combining private, national and EU investment
Funding will be drawn from existing EU programmes, individual Member States and the technology industry. The aim is to spend up to €10bn on the project over the next 7 years. €2bn in funding will be provided by the EU through existing programmes such as Invest EU, the Digital Europe Programme and Connecting Europe Facility 2. The remainder of the funding will come from Member States and industry investors. This funding will be essential, the Joint Declaration states, to ensure delivery of competitive, secure and green cloud infrastructures and services.
2. Defining a common European approach on federating cloud capacities
A common set of policy norms and technical solutions will be needed to deliver pan-European interoperable cloud services across the Member States.
3. Driving the take-up of more secure, interoperable and energy-efficient data centres and cloud services
There will be a particular focus on encouraging SMEs, start-ups and the public sector to avail of the new cloud services on offer at European level.
European Alliance on Industrial Data and Cloud
The next step of this project will be to form the European Alliance on Industrial Data and Cloud (the Alliance). The Alliance will be launched by the end of the year. It will be composed of Member States, industry representatives and experts, who will be tasked with designing the business, investment and implementation plan necessary to launch next generation cloud services across the region.
Please check our website regularly for up to date commentary and analysis on this area. If you have a query relating to cloud services or data protection, please contact John O’Connor or your usual William Fry contact.
Contributed by Elaine Egan