EESC – European Cloud Computing Strategy Lacks Execution

The European Union has realized that European countries are missing out on the action by not tapping on the economic gains brought about by cloud computing. A survey conducted by Business Software Alliance, a not-for-profit organization, found that a lot of computer users in Europe are not familiar with cloud computing services and its advantages.

Last year in September, the European Commission presented a strategy around cloud computing, under the title “Unleashing the potential of cloud computing in Europe”, intended to generate 2.5 million new jobs and $205.94 billion gross domestic product by 2020. The aim of the document was to accelerate and increase the use of cloud, develop cloud-based software, and build cloud computing in Europe.

Members of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), the consultative body of the European Union, now has criticized the strategy of EC for not going far enough to help companies to take advantage of technology.

The plan includes measures presented in September for a certification system at European level, the development of contractual terms and a pan-European body shop, which has led the EESC to say that the measures promote cloud but not serve to the development of cloud. EESC says the ambitions of the EU’s cloud computing should go beyond mere promotion of its use. It should help businesses and governments to become active in this field by offering cloud services and enable Europe to turn into productive in providing cloud infrastructure.

EESC now proposes an alternative strategy in three axes – increasing use of the cloud, to develop software based on cloud computing and implement a cloud computing infrastructure in Europe.

To promote the use of the cloud, the EESC supports the Commission’s suggestion to do away with the plethora of technical standards and establish EU certification schemes for providers of cloud services. It also favors the development of contractual clauses for agreements on service levels in the area of ​​cloud computing and the development of public sector based on cloud computing.

However, the promotion of the use of the cloud will not automatically lead to the development of services and infrastructure in the cloud. The EESC recommends taking specific incentives for this purpose. It includes rigorous European standards of data protection and consumer preference for European local suppliers and good promotion of the use of cloud.

Aware of the difficulties encountered by users in disputes against suppliers from other countries, the Committee proposes to opt for online dispute resolution based on the international context of e-commerce.

To achieve the objectives outlined in its opinion, the EESC recommends the use of EU funding, grants and national subsidies, as well as kick-starting European projects through competitive bidding.

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