France, Germany Want European Alternative To US Cloud Giants

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European powerhouses urge local cloud alternative to the likes of AWS, Azure and Google Cloud

European officials are urging the creation of a local alternative to the cloud computing services offered by Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud.

The finance ministries of France and Germany on Tuesday issued a joint statement calling for an European alternative, Reuters reported.

The European cloud project had been the brainchild of Germany, but France has now joined it to build a “secure data infrastructure.”

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Digital sovereignty

At the moment, AWS, Microsoft and Google have more than a combined 50 percent market share, and the concern for the European nations is that by using cloud infrastructure from US providers, could threaten their sensitive corporate data.

Specifically, Reuters said there is European concern of the adoption of the US Cloud Act of 2018, and the absence of any major competitors, barring China’s Alibaba.

“We want to establish a safe and sovereign European data infrastructure, including data warehouses, data pooling and develop data interoperability,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire was quoted by Reuters as saying in a statement.

His German counterpart, Peter Altmaier, also cited the need to “regain our digital sovereignty.”

It seems that both the French and German governments pledged to hold a workshop before the end of November. The aim is to present proposals for a “European data infrastructure” in early 2020, according to the joint statement.

Digital tax

Europe has been flexing its muscles in other areas of technology of late, most notably regarding the taxation of mostly US-based tech firms, a move that has angered US President Donald Trump.

Last month the European Commission said it was planning to propose an EU-wide tax on online services if negotiations to do so on a global level fail to make progress,

After plans to bring in an EU-wide digital tax foundered late last year, France brought in a digital tax of its own, causing the US to threaten increased taxes on French imports.

The UK and Germany have also said they could press ahead with digital taxes in the absence of an initiative at the EU or a global level.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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