Cloud computing, in some form, will happen anyway,’ said Neelie Kroes, Digital Agenda Commissioner, in her speech at the World Economics Forum. And she wants the EU to be ready.

Kroes, speaking at the Forum in Davos at the end of January, made it clear she preferred concepts to be clearly defined, but realised that where cloud computing was concerned the EU had to keep ahead of the game – without such a definition agreed.

“This is a complex situation and nobody is likely to have all the answers… But the EU has a role to play: we can make it happen smoother and faster,” she said.

Part of that role is ensuring data protection and the EU single market requirements can work with the cloud. Kroes explained she was working on a EU-wide cloud computing strategy, which covered three areas.

The legal framework – covering all laws and rules that affect cloud computing in organisations, both public and private (i.e. data protection and privacy regulations), as well as users’ rights.

Technical and commercial fundamentals covers further research into the security and availability of the cloud, but also points out the bigger role to be taken by the European Commission in the standardisation of application programming interfaces and data formats

Kroes finally suggested that EU member states would take on a series of pilot projects to aide them in developing a common approach towards cloud deployment.

Such a strategy is only the beginning with more to come in 2012. However, Kroes will not be waiting until then to continue the conversation of the cloud –providers and users are invited to Brussels in the spring for some ‘intense consultations.’