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Shaping Europe’s digital future

Cloud computing

The European Commission aims to provide European businesses and public authorities with access to secure, sustainable and interoperable cloud infrastructures and services.

The gradual shift of cloud data and services to the edge is an integral part of the goal. Cloud computing needs secure and sustainable digital infrastructures as well as safe data storage and transmission. 

The global data volume is growing very fast. Whereas cloud computing happens mostly in large data centres today, by 2025 this trend will reverse: 80% of all data is expected to be processed in smart devices closer to the user, known as edge computing. The availability of both edge and cloud computing is essential in a computing continuum to ensure that data is processed in the most efficient manner. Energy-efficient and trustworthy edge and cloud infrastructures will be fundamental for the sustainable use of edge and cloud computing technologies. 


By 2025 80% of data will be processed close to the user

This broad Cloud and Edge ambition is anchored in two objectives of the EU’s Digital Decade. By 2030: 

  • 75% of European businesses should use cloud-edge technologies for their activities. 

  • the deployment of 10,000 climate-neutral and highly secure edge nodes will provide the necessary connectivity and enable rapid data transfers. 

According to the regular collection of statistics about cloud uptake by businesses published by Eurostat only 41% of EU enterprises used cloud computing in 2021.  

The Edge Observatory will monitor the increase of the number of climate-neutral and highly secure edge nodes (study for the Digital Decade started in 2022). 

To reach these objectives we need a wide range of measures, which reflect the complexity and strategic importance of the topic. The Commission has therefore set in motion all tools at its disposal resulting from the European Data Strategy, the Digital Strategy, the Digital Decade, the Industrial Strategy and the digital investment programmes. 

European Data Strategy 

The actions proposed in the EU Data Strategy will facilitate the move to the edge, while developing interoperable cloud and edge services to support the building of common European data spaces. Users and providers must feel secure when moving to the cloud and benefit from a high level of competition in the market. Actions which are contributing to reach these objectives are: 

  • Invest in an Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI) that will federate energy-efficient and trustworthy cloud infrastructures and related services.  

  • SIMPL, an open source, sustainable and secure middleware that will enable cloud-to-edge federations and be the core software powering Data Spaces otherwise funded by the EU. 

  • The EU plans to compile a set of rules, in the form of an EU Cloud Rulebook and a Guidance on public procurement of data processing services. The Rulebook will provide a single European framework relevant binding and non-binding rules for cloud service users and providers in Europe. To increase efficiency and quality of the public procurement of data processing services in Europe, the Guidance will propose recommendations for implementing consistent national policies complemented by a comprehensive set of essential criteria for data processing services to be considered by public sector bodies during the tendering process. 

  • As part of the Cybersecurity Act, the European cybersecurity agency  ENISA is working on a European cybersecurity certification scheme for cloud services (EUCS). The scheme will provide increased assurance to businesses, public administrations and citizens that their data are secure wherever they are stored or processed.  

  • A fair and competitive cloud market as part of the Data Act: By tackling vendor lock-in, the Data Act seeks to make switching between different cloud service providers fast, free and technologically fluid. It also aims to boost interoperability and provides safeguards on international data transfers. 

  • Data protection in the cloud:  the Commission has facilitated a platform for industry to develop two Codes of Conduct for data protection in the cloud. More information about the processing of personal and non-personal data in the cloud can be found in the Commission’s Guidance on mixed datasets

  • The Regulation on the free flow of non-personal data, which, together with the General Data Protection Regulation, increases legal certainty for cloud users by ensuring the free movement of all data in the EU. 

European mapping of data flows will allow to assess the volume and economic value of data flows to the European digital economy and brings valuable insights for businesses. 

Digital Strategy 

Cloud and edge computing will be among those digital technologies contributing  to the sustainability goals of the European Green Deal by underpinning novel digital solutions. At the same time, the Commission is working on enhancing the sustainability of cloud and edge computing, notably through measures targeting the resource efficiency of data centres to meet the objective that "by 2030, data centres must be climate-neutral and highly energy efficient.” Current examples on how to achieve this are: the inclusion of data centres in the EU taxonomy for sustainable activities, new provisions in the Energy Efficiency Directive, Green Public Procurement criteria or the Code of Conduct for energy efficient Data Centres.   

Digital Decade 

Besides the two targets concerning cloud uptake by enterprises and the increase of the number of edge nodes, the EU will invest in multi-country projects. The IPCEI on Next Generation Cloud and Edge Computing Services is part of a multi-country project on European Common Data Infrastructure and Services under the Digital Decade policy programme. It will work in close combination with possible European Digital Infrastructure Consortium (EDIC) for sectoral common European data spaces. 

Investments in novel and cross-cutting cloud-edge technologies will help to build the next generation cloud-edge infrastructures, including to enable Common European Data Spaces. New cloud-based services will have to respond to high-standard requirements with regard to data protection, performance, resilience and energy efficiency. The services and infrastructures will have to meet the future digitisation needs of industry and the public sector. The EU is making concrete investments in these areas by developing cloud and edge computing as well as open source in Europe via the EU funding programmes Horizon Europe, DIGITAL Europe programme, Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). 

Industrial Strategy 

The European Alliance on Industrial Data, Edge and Cloud aims to shape the next generation of secure, low-carbon and interoperable cloud and edge services and infrastructure. Through this industrial cooperation platform, public and private parties work together on among others the investment roadmap, as well as the public procurement rules for cloud. 


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