On 14 December, Commissioner Kroes met a small group of industry representatives concerning Cloud Computing policy. As members of this initiative amongst others, Oracle, Google, SAP and EuroCloud presented her a set of 10 Recommendations on how to boost Cloud services in Europe.
These 4 companies, 2 EU-based and 2 US-based, talked on behalf of a wide number of companies which had been invited by the Commission to provide input with a view to the EU Cloud Strategy, expected in the coming New Year.
Reacting to industry recommendations, Vice President Neelie Kroes said: "I went to the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2011 with a vision for a 'cloud-active' Europe. Having received the views of industry and our citizens I will go back to Davos in 2012 in order to announce the first concrete actions and start building a European Cloud Computing Partnership."
Industry is asking the European Commission to provide for a coherent legal framework for Cloud services, to help European businesses participate in a global market forecast to reach 70 billion euros annually in 2015.
The vision for a cloud-active Europe goes hand and hand with a vision for a cloud-friendly Europe. Hopefully, Commissioner Kroes will take into account critical points for industry such as the need for legal certainty to encourage more use of Cloud services by small businesses and public administrations and the need for Data Protection rules compatible with the development of Cloud.
Being cloud-friendly does not mean simply extend the obligations of a controller to the processor. This would have a very negative impact on Cloud and would undermine the development of Cloud services in Europe. With a view to the forthcoming review of the Data Protection EU legal framework, the roles of the controllers and processors need to be simplified and their respective obligations shall be differentiated.
If decision makers do not manage to set the adequate legal framework, we will be missing a unique opportunity. EU Cloud providers will not have the opportunity to be active if they do not face friendly regulatory conditions.