The European Commission (EC) has announced its intention to the make Europe one of the most "cloud-active" regions in the world with the formation of a European Cloud Partnership (ECP) that will launch with a €10m investment.
Vice president for the digital agenda Neelie Kroes said the programme would bring together public authorities, industry vendors and firms interested in the use of the cloud to work towards tackling obstacles holding back the adoption of cloud computing.
"These issues - standards, certification, data protection, interoperability, lock-in, legal certainty and others - are particularly troublesome for smaller companies," she noted.
"They are the ones who stand to benefit the most from the cloud - but who don't have a lot of spending power, nor resources for individual negotiations with cloud suppliers."
Kroes said the first priority for the ECP would be to define a set of common requirements for cloud procurement on issues such as security, competition and avoiding vendor lock-in.
After this it would look to deliver on this framework with proof of concept deployments, which it aims to have in place by 2013.
She stressed the intention was not about building a "European super-cloud" but about giving all those interested in cloud computing the chance to learn from others and work on a common set of principles.
"In the beginning, cloud procurement might still be conducted separately. However, even in that form, the benefits of a common approach will begin to accrue - to cloud buyers and suppliers," she said.
"There is no reason why procurement by private businesses and organisations would not adapt in this direction as well."
The proposals were backed by HP, with the firm's European head of innovation and sustainable computing Ian Brooks claiming that such a system was vital to ensure the future growth of cloud computing.
"HP thoroughly welcomes the EU initiative proposing to align cloud regulations across the region and believes that technology is ready for a secure usage of the cloud," he said.
"Cloud is not a fashion, but a fundamental shift in our industry driven by a changing workforce, new technologies and the evolution of business models."
Kroes also recently touted the use of cloud systems as a key way in which the creative industries can defeat online piracy and drive new revenue streams as the EC looks to ensure the region remains at the cutting edge of the digital economy.
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