The European Commission is to put €10m towards forming a group of European governments to jointly purchase cloud products.
The European Cloud Partnership, made up of governments and industry, will define common standards for cloud procurement, digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes said in a speech on Thursday.
"The partnership will... look at standards; it will look at security; it will look at ensuring competition, not lock-in," said Kroes. Joint procurement of cloud services by European public bodies and "pooling of resources" is the eventual aim of the partnership, she said.
Governments will ask providers for prototypes, and then move to product procurement.
The European Cloud Partnership is part of the Commission's overall cloud computing strategy, which will be presented later this year.
The Commission is talking to potential partners for the cloud group, said Kroes. In November, a group of technology organisations submitted a report (PDF) on the upcoming cloud computing strategy. A source at the Commission told ZDNet UK that the group — which includes Accenture, Amazon, IBM, Logica, Microsoft, and HP — are potential members of the European Cloud Partnership.
Joint procurement could benefit technology companies and purchasers, HP's European head of innovation and sustainable computing Ian Brooks told ZDNet UK on Thursday.
"It’s clear from Neelie's speech today, [that] the region understands how cloud computing could transform business across Europe, helping stimulate innovation, driving higher levels of efficiency, forging new collaborations and creating new jobs," said Brooks. "Providing clarity of approach, common standards and EU support for the programme will accelerate adoption and provide benefits to consumers, companies and service providers alike."