The European Commission’s new strategy for “Unleashing the potential of cloud computing in Europe” outlines actions to deliver a net gain of 2.5 million new European jobs, and an annual boost of EUR 160 billion to EU GDP (around 1%) by 2020. The strategy is designed to speed up and increase the use of cloud computing across the economy. In particular, the strategy announcement follows the Commission’s 2012 proposal to update the Data Protection rules and comes ahead of a European Strategy for Cyber Security to be proposed in the coming months. The development of such European cloud rules is a precondition for the seamless digital space that will bring us a true Digital Single Market. These joint actions will form a comprehensive effort to deliver a dynamic and trusted internet environment in Europe.

Key actions of the strategy include as follows: cutting through the jungle of technical standards so that cloud users get interoperability, data portability and reversibility; necessary standards should be identified by 2013; Support for EU-wide certification schemes for trustworthy cloud providers; development of model ‘safe and fair’ contract terms for cloud computing contracts including Service Level Agreements; a European Cloud Partnership with Member States and industry to harness the public sector’s buying power (20% of all IT spending) to shape the European cloud market, boost the chances for European cloud providers to achieve a competitive scale, and deliver cheaper and better eGovernment.