European cloud platform Gaia-X established

The European cloud computing platform Gaia-X has been officially established, with the creation of a legal entity in Belgium.

Set up to address Europe’s dependence on American or Chinese cloud providers, the joint venture is set for full launch next year, as a non-profit group of 22 French and German companies - including Orange, Siemens, SAP, Atos, Scaleway and Deutsche Telekom.

French economic minister Bruno Le Maire explained that it "will ensure the application of policy rules based on EU values and standards", adding: "We are not China, we are not the United States - we are European countries with our own values and our own economic interests that we want to defend."

Gaia-X plans will create a joint standard of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and data sovereignty rules for companies aiming to store data on the cloud within the EU.

Elie Girard, chief executive of Atos, said: “Europe’s digital leadership in the data economy requires flexible and secure cloud capabilities - by facilitating infrastructure, application, and data portability, Gaia-X will enable European businesses and public administrations to share their decentralised data in a reliable and secure way, boosting cloud adoption and the creation of value-added ecosystems."

The project was announced last October, following concerns around the dominance of Alphabet’s Google, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft’s Azure – which account for more than half of the cloud computing market worldwide.

European lawmakers were particularly worried that data storage services provided by a limited number of US firms could be affected by the recent adoption of the US CLOUD Act of 2018, potentially raising fears of privacy issues for huge amounts of sensitive corporate data.

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