Posted by John Vassallo
Vice President of EU Affairs

(Cross posted from Microsoft.eu)

Growth has been the watchword at the Government Leaders Forum (GLF) in London. It's an event that brings together some of the region's most influential public sector figures under one roof, in an effort to find new ways to drive sustainable economic growth in Europe.

In my conversations in the conference hall, most people I have spoken with are in agreement that maintaining growth across the region will not be easy. Nevertheless, there is clear enthusiasm to engage and help unearth new ways to drive prosperity for Europe's people.

There is certainly an understanding amongst most government leaders that the efficient deployment of technology across Europe will play a crucial role in dictating the speed at which the recovery happens. It was great to hear Nick Clegg, the UK government's deputy leader, reinforcing how important technology is and will continue to be in driving growth in the coming months and years.

Deputy Prime Minister Clegg's thoughts echoed a study by IDC, the technology research group, which stated information and communications technology now drives 25 per cent of EU GDP growth and 50 percent of EU productivity growth. These are truly compelling numbers.

I've had some great conversations with attendees from all walks of government life across Europe, as to how technology is already driving efficiency and productivity and ultimately propelling growth. Most of these people understand that cloud computing is at the heart of this development.

The cloud offers tremendous potential for all sections of society, but there are very real challenges in the way. Policy issues such as privacy, data sovereignty, and broadband capacity are coalescing in the context of the cloud, and are of concern to everyone - governments and industry at the forefront of this transformation.

For industry leaders like Microsoft, it is vital that the barriers and opportunities for cloud computing are discussed from the outset if we are to assist in the development of the Single Digital Market as envisioned by the Digital Agenda. Part of the role of forums like today is to spark that dialogue and to drive a shared understanding between government and industry on how best to take forward the Digital Agenda.

It's really encouraging that both Europe and Microsoft are alive to what the cloud can potentially deliver. For all of us to succeed, for Europe's Digital Agenda to become a reality, we need the cloud to succeed.

Related content