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Recently, France and Germany launched GAIA-X. This public cloud project should provide standards and interoperability to European cloud initiatives.

The GAIA-X cloud project is a European initiative for a data-infrastructure and ecosystem that follows the European values and standards around digital technology. The aim is to use digital processes and IT technology to connect all participants in the European digital economy, whether they are companies, governments or other organisations.

Existing standards, open technology and concepts are used for this purpose. This should ultimately lead to an open, consistent, quality standards-based, easy to use and innovative exchange of data and the provision of data services.

Complying with legislation and regulations

Furthermore, the initiative should ensure that other public cloud providers, from the United States and China, comply with European standards. Potential conflicts around legislation, such as the European GDPR privacy legislation and the US Cloud Act, must be resolved.

Non-profit organisation

The non-profit GAIA-X Foundation is set up in Belgium to support the GAIA-X cloud project. This organisation must ensure that its members meet the objectives regarding true European sovereignty, data availability, interoperability, portability, transparency and equal access.

Non-European companies or organisations

GAIA-X is therefore primarily an initiative that pursues European legislation and regulations on data but is of course also open to companies and organisations from other continents. However, they must comply with the European data requirements. AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud can participate in GAIA-X, but must continuously provide any information about local legislation, such as the US Cloud Act, that may affect data of European customers. Microsoft has indicated that it is interested in GAIA-X.

European participants

GAIA-X will start during the course of 2021. The first European companies and organisations to participate in the pan-European cloud project include Amadeus, Atos, Beckhoff, Bosch, BMW, DE-CIX, Deutsche Telekom, Docaposte, EDF, Fraunhofer, German Edge Cloud, Institut Mines Telecom, International Data Spaces Association, Orange, 3DS Outscale, OVHcloud, PlusServer, Safran, SAP, Scaleway and Siemens.