European Commission opens cloud consultation

19th May 2011

The European Commission (EC) has officially launched its public consultation into cloud computing – a survey designed to collect the opinions of individuals, businesses and public bodies across the continent, prior to the release of a European Cloud Computing Strategy next year.

The online questionnaire will form the basis of a number of elements related to European policy on cloud computing, and aims to gain clarity on the issues and barriers affecting the adoption of cloud infrastructure and services. 
As the consultation document specifies:

“The EU needs to become not only Cloud-friendly but Cloud-active to fully realise the benefits of Cloud Computing. Besides allowing for the provision of Cloud Computing in its various forms, the relevant environment in the EU has to address the needs of end users and protect the rights of citizens. At the same time, it should allow for the development of a strong industry in this sector in Europe.”

The survey forms one part of the Digital Agenda for Europe, headed by European Commissioner Neelie Kroes, who has been a long-standing champion of building a cloud computing industry in Europe, as opposed to relying on a market currently dominated by US cloud providers. Following the launch of the public consultation, Kroes stated:

"I am excited about the potential benefits of cloud computing to cut costs, improve services and open up new business opportunities. We need a well-defined cloud computing strategy to ensure that we make the best use of this potential. The input we are requesting from all interested parties is important to get it right."

“Cloud Computing represents a paradigm shift away from today's decentralised IT systems,” Kroes added. “It is already transforming providers of IT services and it will change the way other industrial sectors provision their IT needs as users, as well as the way citizens interact with their computers and their mobile devices.”

Last month Business Cloud News reported Kroes' statement that she believed cloud computing could be 'vital to Europe's growth', and the public consultation process is a clear indication that the EC wishes to get as much information about the new technology from across the continent before it outlines its strategy.
However, with so many private companies across the globe already introducing new cloud infrastructure to their IT services on a daily basis, questions over the time the consultation and strategy outlining process takes may yet be raised - especially with super-powers such as the US steaming ahead with both their private and public sector adoption.

The online consultation is open until 31 August and can be accessed here