With "GAIA-X" towards European data sovereignty

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The project of a European cloud is progressing rapidly: From November 2020, the GAIA-X cloud alliance will have set up permanent structures and the "GAIA-X Foundation" will begin its work. This is an important step for the digital sovereignty of Europe. In particular, the key to success of the project is to push ahead with its Europeanization as quickly as possible, to involve user industries and to offer initial pilot applications.

In her speech on the state of the European Union, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stressed the importance of a strong European data economy as a powerful engine for innovation. The establishment of a European cloud based on GAIA-X was an important element in this context, she said. The cloud project – originally initiated by Germany and France - aims at creating a European data ecosystem. It was launched in 2019 and concretized to such an extent that a basic concept for GAIA-X could be presented in early June 2020. With the establishment of the GAIA-X Foundation AISBL, it is now granted legal status under Belgian law. The purpose of the entity is to commit its members to common goals such as data sovereignty, interoperability, portability and transparency. The BDI has been closely involved in the development of the idea for GAIA-X from the very beginning with its own working group and will continue to accompany the project closely in the future.

Driving Europeanization forward

For the success of the cloud project it is crucial now to bring as many European partners as possible on board. Virtually all companies in Europe depend on trusted data ecosystems. Medium-sized companies in particular need easy access to data networks that meet the high European security standards. In order to achieve Europe's digital sovereignty in the sense of strengthening its own competencies and technologies, the success of this project is therefore crucial. GAIA-X is a successful European project that should serve as an example for other digital initiatives in Europe. The signing of the "Memorandum of Understandings" for the European cloud alliance, initiated by the EU Commission and scheduled for mid-October 2020, therefore comes at the right time.

Integrate user industries and offer pilot applications

In order to be able to assert itself in international competition, user industries throughout Europe should also be increasingly involved in the project. In the coming months, it will be crucial to involve as many providers and users of cloud services as possible in the work of the organization. GAIA-X has a high demand potential in business, science and public administration. All interested parties who share GAIA-X's values should be involved in the project. After all, the first pilot applications should be offered quickly. The "Gaia-X-Foundation" is scheduled to officially begin its work at the beginning of November 2020. From the outset, the focus should be on offering pilot applications to test the technical practicability and bring the project to market as quickly as possible in order to ensure international competitiveness.