The Steering Board of the new European Cloud Partnership (ECP) has met for the first time in Brussels, signalling the formal start of efforts by the European Commission to create an EU Digital Single Market for Cloud Computing.
ECP's board, which is one of the key actions of the European Cloud Computing Strategy, will facilitate dialogue between public authorities and industry to implement pre-commercial procurement actions for public sector Cloud Computing.
The board brings together tech Chief Executive Officers and government representatives with responsibility for IT procurement.
The committee is Chaired by Toomas Hendrik Ilves, President of Estonia. "Leading the council is a great opportunity for Estonia to have a role in shaping the course of Europe and to work in cooperation with visionaries and technological leaders [...] Cloud computing is the today of information technology,"said Ilves.
He added that widespread adoption of cloud computing, along with changes pertaining to necessary data protection and digital content rights, would establish the prerequisites for a common market of digital services and e-trade development in Europe.
"The risk is that Europe will adopt the solutions of the previous generation, which are not secure and are likely to reduce, not increase, people's trust of digital services. For example, the username/password solution might be favored over a pan-European electronic ID card," Ilves said.
"The primary beneficiaries would be the citizens of the European Union, small and medium sized companies, and government agencies on every level. Service providers for network and data centers and software companies would also benefit from this," he added.
“I need this top-level input so that all of Europe can see the full benefits of Cloud Computing, and quickly”, Kroes stated and explained that “President Ilves and all Board members are going to give no-nonsense, action-oriented advice to get the European Cloud Partnership moving."
During its first mandate, the ECP will create a common framework for Cloud Computing across Europe and stimulate the migration of public IT use to the Cloud. The opening session meeting also backed the creation of cross-border and interoperable Cloud pilot projects for 2014 such as eID, smart cities, e-health, e-education, research and digital content services.
Those in attendance included tSAP co-chief executive Jim Hagemann-Snabe, Amazon.com chief technology officer Werner Vogels and Atos chief executive Thierry Breton, as well as chief executives from F-Secure, Accenture and Ericsson.
“The main beneficiaries of our actions will be European citizens, small and medium sized enterprises and national, regional and local authorities”, The Steering Board said in an statement, adding that other stakeholders “will also benefit from the creation of a vibrant and self-sustaining ecosystem.”
The committee has an initial budget of €10 million and will meet two or three times per year.