26 May 2021

DIGITALEUROPE's vision for Gaia-X: 3 goals for an open and pioneering European cloud network

Gaia-X, the pioneering initiative aiming to develop a European cloud and data infrastructure – of which DIGITALEUROPE is a member – has the potential to boost data sharing and use among companies of all sizes, enable the creation of common European data spaces, and provide a blueprint for future EU cloud initiatives.

Following the Gaia-X call for applications to its Board of Directors, DIGITALEUROPE’s Director-General Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl has applied as candidate Board member. The aim is to bring the voice of over 35,000 technology and digitally transforming European businesses to Gaia-X and help this initiative fulfill its potential of being a truly open and pioneering European cloud network.

Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl, Director-General, DIGITALEUROPE

“It is time for Gaia-X to move to the next level, from a promising Franco-German initiative to a truly pioneering European project. I am convinced it has the potential to greatly benefit Europe’s data economy and to promote jobs, innovation and economic growth.”

Read our vision for Gaia-X

What should the goals 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.
Read our vision for Gaia-X
For more information, please contact:
Samia Fitouri
Senior Communications Manager
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