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Commission must boost cloud computing, says committee

The European Economic and Social Committee has criticised the European Commission’s proposal for cloud computing, which it says does not go far enough to ensure Europe will reap the full benefits of the technology.

In an opinion adopted on 17 January, the EESC says the Commission’s plans will be insufficient to promote the development of cloud services and the emergence of European cloud computing infrastructure.

The Commission strategy, published on 27 September, outlines plans aiming to improve the speed and use of cloud computing to gain efficiency savings of €160 billion a year and make Europe a driving force in information and communications technology.

Until now, the take up of cloud computing—the storage and processing of data on remotely located computers accessed over the internet—has remained limited in Europe. A 2012 survey from the Business Software Alliance shows less than a quarter of European businesses use cloud computing, compared with 34 per cent globally.

The EESC says the Commission’s plans are likely to increase use of the technology, but lacks concrete measures to develop the industry. “They should help businesses and public administrations to become ‘cloud active’ by offering cloud-based services and […] providing cloud infrastructure”, said Eric Pigal, the EESC rapporteur.

The EESC opinion argues that more incentives are needed to ensure the European ICT industry will develop the technology, rather than becoming dependent on non-EU providers. “Under current market conditions, expanding the use of the cloud in Europe will inevitably strengthen non-European operators,” said Pigal.