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European Commission

Neelie Kroes

Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda

A European strategy for cloud computing

Press Conference on Cloud Computing Strategy

Brussels, 27 September 2012

Cloud computing could offer a huge lift to the European economy. But only if users can understand and trust it.

Today we launch a significant package of measures to build that trust and boost our economic future. Today we make Europe not just cloud-friendly: but cloud active. And we offer our economy a hundred-and-sixty-billion-euro boost.

The cloud is a different model for ICT services: with data or software stored remotely, and accessed online.

It's a particular boost for small businesses, who get a more convenient, tailored, and flexible service. And cheaper too: most businesses using the cloud find they save ten to twenty percent of costs, or more. That soon adds up.

And others can benefit too: like governments. The cloud could revolutionise public services, with services that are more integrated, more effective, and at lower taxpayer cost.

That all leads to a huge economic benefit totalling hundreds of billions of euros by 2020. Plus millions of new European jobs.

But that will only happen if we get the policies right. Without the right policies, the economic benefits will be just a fraction of that.

You shouldn't have to have a law degree to use the cloud. But today, many potential users think it's too complicated, too risky, or too untrustworthy.

We need to remove those barriers. If we do remove them, virtually every company, 98% of them, says they would increase or start investment in the cloud.

And we need to think European. If we stick to a national approach with national rules, we will constrain the cloud to national borders. We shouldn't limit our ambition like that.

Only with a European approach can we find economies of scale, with benefits for cloud providers and consumers alike.

The single market is our crown jewel, cutting costs and boosting business: a European cloud strategy gives our single market a new, digital home.

We are taking three major steps to boost confidence. First, standards and certification will help users evaluate and compare services, and know which ones to trust. For example, we will put cloud users more in control of their data, with standards based on the principles of interoperability, portability and reversibility.

Second, users need to know their contracts are safe and fair. Model contract terms will cover how data is used in the cloud, and liability issues.

And third, these measures accompany our existing announcement of a European Cloud Partnership: to harness the public sector's buying power, shape the emerging cloud market and ensure more efficient, effective e-Government services.

All of this sits alongside important measures we are taking in related areas. For example we have already proposed a single set of data protection rules for Europe; and in the coming months will propose a European strategy for cyber security.

Cloud computing is an opportunity our economy cannot miss. Let's seize it, with an approach that is ambitious, effective, and European.

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