Digital Sovereignty: with the Rome Consensus, European digital ecosystem aligns on 4 key pillars to further scale a values-based and citizen-centric approach to Europe’s strategic autonomy
Gathered on the occasion of a pan-European conference held by OVHcloud in the frame of the 2022 French Presidency of the European Union Council, key representatives across institutions, technology leaders and trade associations converge on 4 key pillars to take European digital sovereignty to the next level. With the Rome Consensus, OVHcloud’s primary objective was to set a much pragmatic roadmap that shall enable Digital Sovereignty to take deep roots across the ecosystem. While focusing on Rules & Regulations, Research & Development, Funding & Tenders and Education & Training, the Rome Consensus sets a clear path, backed-up with pragmatic roadmaps, to serve the upbeating political ambition regarding Europe’s strategic autonomy.
A holistic approach built along with European users, industry players and institutions
For over a year, OVHcloud captivated government and industry representatives in a set of debates to better assess the different visions that fuel a continent-wide definition and concepts of European Digital Sovereignty Building on the booming demand for trusted data-focused solutions as well as the ever-growing awareness and investments from the institutions, the initiative launched in Rome back in May 2021, met a stronger momentum as France took over the 2022 Presidency of the European Union Council, putting digital sovereignty at the top of its agenda. Setting a continent-wide dialogue from Paris, to Berlin, Riga, Warsaw, Madrid, Tallinn, and Toulouse, OVHcloud has relentlessly engaged with the digital ecosystem to focus on a pragmatic roadmap which will help meet the speed requirements of the hyper-growing digital markets.
"The question of strengthening our sovereignty, which is the main theme of the French Presidency of the Council of the EU, is also very important in the field of digital technology, and notably the cloud. Recognizing this challenge, France and Italy wanted to work together on an IPCEI (Important Project of Common European Interest) dedicated to this crucial sector in order to strengthen, together with the industry, our autonomy and our common strength to tackle the ongoing challenges." stated Christian Masset, Ambassador of France in Italy.
The Rome Consensus: a 4-fold framework to secure organic and harmonious scale of digital economy across Europe
Behind the Rome Consensus, a much deeper challenge arose: Europe must take a stronger lead on its digital destiny and boost its technological sovereignty. As signifcant progress occured, starting with DSA, DMA but also ENISA certification framework as well as Data Act or IPCEI launches, Europe is today uniquely positioned to accelerate the path for more digital autonomy and growth. To take it to the next level, four key pillars, continuously developed over three main phases, short term (next three months), mid-term (until mid-2023) and long-term (after mid-2023) were collectively designed:
- Rules & Regulations: the key for a shared, secure and principled environment with equal rules for players, especially regarding data sovereignty. This framework can become a global trend-setter and pioneer, establishing rules that could be emulated throughout the world.
- Research & Development to reach the next stage of innovation and achieve technological sovereignty by pushing Europe’s long-standing and vibrant research and development community further. It will be made even stronger by merging the energies of the public and private sector in constant emulation with each other.
- Funding & Tenders: to implement strategic, sustainable and long-term financing to contribute to the emergence of global European-rooted champions.
- Education & Training: to ensure citizens, business leaders and public sector players are empowered to make secure and efficient choices which will secure Digital Sovereignty for all through relentless training and education at all stages of life and levels of expertise.
« Since inception, OVHcloud has put the notion of Ecosystem at the heart of its DNA. While designing this roadshow, our ambition remained as strong as ever to nurture a pan-European approach to digital sovereignty and better assess the fit between forthcoming regulations and industry needs. As we plan to unleash the full potential of Europe in a digital world, the Rome Consensus must be considered as a starting point, and we commit therefore to further engage with our European partners to take it to the next level, together. », declared Michel Paulin, CEO OVHcloud.
A stronger and consistent vision, empowering a better, faster and stronger digital future for European citizens
Even if 70% (1) of the European cloud market is today kept in the hands of 3 American players, Europe is in a unique position to re-balance the forces at stake and capture the full value of a cloud market which should exceed Telco sector in value as soon as 2027.
By switching to hyper speed, the path set as part of the Rome Consensus will be key to design an ethical cloud offering, backed up with stronger communities. This new horizon must be enabled through ambitious sustainable goals, powerful social responsibilities, robust compliance with the highest levels of certifications, fostering growth of the most promising digital solutions such as e-health, IoT, AI, Quantum or even Smart cities.
Taking back the lead on its data regulation and governance principles, Europe is at a crossroad where it still can assert its leadership in the field of data-centric economy. Only if it fully embraces the challenge, European-grown digital champions will be able to offer state-of-the-art, efficient, and original services all over the world and promoting a European digital way of life.
« The adoption of the GDPR represented a milestone in the protection of digital rights. Thanks to this regulation, not only has the privacy protection of EU citizens advanced dramatically, but American cloud players themselves are somehow forced to evolve and propose new services in line with European laws. In a post-Schrems 2 era, the projects undertaken by the reference authorities in the field of data must enable citizens to regain greater control over their data. The level of protection guaranteed by the GDPR must be exportable.» commented Marie-Laure Denis, President of the French Commission Nationale Informatique et Libertés (data protection authority)
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1 : KPMG: April 2021, The European Cloud market: key challenges for Europe and five scenarios with major impacts by 2027-2030
OVHcloud is a global player and the leading European cloud provider operating 400,000 servers within over 33 data centers across four continents. For 20 years, the Group has been leveraging an integrated model that provides complete control of our value chain, from designing our servers to managing our data centers to orchestrating our fiber-optic network. This unique approach enables OVHcloud to independently cover the full spectrum of use cases for our 1.6 million customers across 140 countries. OVHcloud now offers customers the latest-generation solutions that combine high performance, predictable pricing, and complete data sovereignty to support their unfettered growth.