08 Jun 2021

DIGITALEUROPE Director-General Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl is elected to the Board of Directors of Gaia-X

At the Gaia-X extraordinary General Assembly, DIGITALEUROPE’s Director-General Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl has been elected as member of the association’s Board of Directors.

The Board, composed by 24 elected members representing a range of European companies in the digital, telecom and industry sectors and 2 independent members, will have a two-year mandate.

DIGITALEUROPE is the only cross-industry, EU-level trade association currently sitting on the Gaia-X Board. 7 DIGITALEUROPE members were also elected to the Board: Airbus, Atos, Bitkom, Bosch, Philips, SAP, and Siemens.

Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl, Director-General of DIGITALEUROPE, said:

I am honoured to be named a member of the Board of Directors of Gaia-X.

I want to thank all the Gaia-X members who trusted me with this important role. I look forward to collaborating with my fellow Board members towards our common vision.

The data economy will be the cornerstone of the European recovery and the Digital Decade. Gaia-X, as an open and pioneering European cloud network, can lay the groundwork for this, promoting jobs, innovation and economic growth.

I believe in this initiative and I am ready to ensure Gaia-X becomes a pan-European project that delivers on its potential.”

What should the goal of Gaia-X be?

Gaia-X is a unique opportunity to create the first pan-European cloud initiative, focused on a set of clear, achievable goals, and leveraging the best ideas and use cases by its members. In our view, it should have 3 main goals:

  1. Gaia-X is uniquely positioned to create a sandboxing environment where companies can test very concrete business use cases. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel; but we do need a supporting environment for companies to test and nurture their innovative ideas.
  1. Once the business cases are proven successful, we need a quick rollout. Relevant Gaia-X projects must be backed with investment from the national recovery plans and EU programmes to accelerate uptake.
  1. Data spaces will enable a true Single Market for data. Gaia-X should facilitate the creation of common European data spaces that are interoperable across borders and sectors and based on non-discriminatory, collaborative and transparent rules, helping businesses of all sizes to participate in the data economy.

How can Gaia-X achieve this vision?

At DIGITALEUROPE, we have developed a set of targets to measure Europe’s digital success, an approach mirrored by the European Commission in its Digital Compass, the goals it has proposed for the upcoming Digital Decade. Among our key targets, we want to see at least half of European companies using advanced cloud services, and at least 50 per cent of SMEs using big data analytics, by 2025.

Thanks to DIGITALEUROPE’s strong network of companies and national associations, we know about the many success stories already out there, but also the challenges that for instance SMEs face in scaling up. By fostering open and interoperable data sharing infrastructure, Gaia-X can support businesses large and small to benefit from digitalisation. But how, concretely?

  1. First, let’s focus on selected actions and deliverables that can be launched in 2022-2023. Too many workstreams may affect the short-term impact and the long-term viability of Gaia-X.
  1. Coordination, not fragmentation! Gaia-X must collaborate with other European cloud initiatives, to create synergies and avoid duplication. And we need a robust network of national hubs to leverage existing initiatives in each country and encourage regional and cross-border data sharing.
  1. Gaia-X must represent Europe’s economy in all its diversity – including businesses of all sizes, geographies and sectors –, be open to the best technologies from all over the world, and transparent in its rules and governance.
  1. The Board of Directors and other key governance bodies should be balanced and diverse, ensuring gender equality and geographical representation.
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For more information, please contact:
Julien Chasserieau
Associate Director for AI & Data Policy
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