These days, Europe needs a boost. We need to inject energy into the economy, generate tomorrow's jobs, and make public money work harder.
The cloud is a great way to do all of those things. Giving everyone a "locker" to store their favourite pictures, music and films – and access them wherever they are. Offering cheaper, more flexible IT to boost businesses' bottom line.
And enabling public services that are more integrated and effective, while saving taxpayers' money.
All together, the benefits from more and better use of cloud computing could be worth several hundred euros a year for every European. But only if we get the policy framework right.
Already today, many people use a number of cloud services without even realising it – from webmail to Facebook. And many companies are investing in cloud technologies.
But many are held back – because they want their questions answered before they'll get "cloud-active".
Questions like, can I easily transfer my data from one provider to another? What happens if the provider goes bust? Or, how can I be sure my contract is safe and fair – even if I don't have a law degree?
This uncertainty makes it harder to trust the cloud, and harder to unlock its benefits. % of businesses would use the cloud more, if those barriers were removed. So let's remove them!
That's what we're doing with our European cloud strategy.
We'll look at issues like "safe and fair" contract terms and conditions.
We'll cut through the jungle of standards to tackle problems like interoperability, and data portability. And we'll help successful industry-led certification schemes work across borders in the EU: so you can find out which cloud providers you can trust.
Meanwhile, the European cloud partnership we are setting up will help us work together to find the best cloud solutions for the public sector. And stimulate a growing and maturing market: benefiting every cloud user, public or private.
I don't want national rules constraining the cloud to tiny markets: only if we “think European” can we get the right economies of scale. The EU's single market is our crown jewel: and the cloud is a great digital home for it.
If we "think European", everyone – businesses, consumers, governments – can travel, trade or transact online easily across borders, without the hassle of 27 different sets of rules.
Embracing the cloud is good for business, good for public services, and good for our economy. So let's make Europe "cloud-active".