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The cloud: a business opportunity for EU SMEs

The new dimension created by the development of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) provides a clear business opportunity for small and medium sized enterprises in the European Union, which should be taken as a formula to create jobs and boost business competitiveness.

At present, the possibilities offered by newly created tools such as cloud computing enable European SMEs to have an opportunity to grow that needs to be promoted by the EU institutions.

Cloud computing is a new technology tool that allows businesses to access a catalogue of services. It also allows businesses to respond to their needs in a flexible manner and enable them to adapt to the demands of the moment, paying only for what they need to consume at any given point. Cloud computing also increases the number of network-based services, enabling providers to operate in a faster and more efficient manner. Finally, these benefits come with an optimisation of costs and a guarantee that the service will remain secure.

The European Union must make a firm commitment to further the use of this valuable tool., As my colleague MEP and President of the European Internet Foundation, Pilar del Castillo points out, cloud computing offers a unique opportunity to spur economic growth and boost employment. Studies have concluded that fully implementing this tool could generate an estimated 3.8 million new jobs in the EU in the framework of the Horizon 2020 Programme.

Besides promoting job creation and innovation, and contributing to increased productivity and competitiveness, cloud computing has tremendous potential in terms of cost savings of ICT. It will also act to boost the development of the digital single market.

Data protection regulations must be adapted in order to accommodate this new technology and, at the same time secure and strengthen consumer confidence.

On the other hand, the fragmentation of the Digital Single Market should no longer be one of the outstanding issues, in order for cloud computing to realise its full potential.

In order to carry out these actions, we need the support of the EU to continue to promote access to new technological innovations including the deployment of High Speed broadband in Europe or the achievement of other initiatives already underway, such as the Galileo program of the European Commission for the development of the European satellite navigation.