13th January 2017

Ambitious plans to make the EU a global leader in cloud computing are being jeopardised by a failure to take a market-led approach.

As the Conservative Industry spokesman I believe that a non-legislative report agreed yesterday by the European Parliament's Industry, Research and Energy Committee failed to send a clear message to the European Commission that its top-down policy was not the best way to drive innovation.

I fully support the idea of a European Open Science Cloud to create a trusted, open environment for the research community, but it will not succeed if we leave it to the Commission to impose a centralised, 'we know best' approach in relation to infrastructure developments.

The EU cannot fund the proposed developments on its own and if the financial burden is going to fall on business - as it will – investment decisions and direction must be market-led and meet the demands of the sector.

The European Open Science Cloud would make all scientific data produced with funding from the EU's Horizon 2020 programme available by default, allowing researchers to share findings and drive innovation. The linked European Data Initiative would underpin this by developing the necessary infrastructure.

The future policy and investment proposals on cloud computing should take account of existing initiatives and not duplicate effort.

In the UK businesses and consumers benefit from having multiple cloud providers offering access to technologically advanced, free to use services. The EU should learn from our example.

The report will be considered by the full parliament in the coming months.

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