The next large-scale European project is ready to take off – the development of a European high-performance cloud. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action has now submitted a list of highly innovative projects from Germany to the European Commission. The Ministry aims to provide up to €750 million in funding to support projects from a total of 26 companies.

Federal Minister Robert Habeck said: “As we build up a European cloud, we are laying the foundation for the EU’s digital sovereignty and competitiveness. Our businesses have to be able to decide for themselves how they want to store, use and process their data. With this in mind, we want the European cloud market to lead the field globally. German companies will be at the forefront of the effort to make sure that data are processed in a safer and more energy-efficient manner and that innovative technologies and applications can develop.”

An IPCEI (Important Project of Common European Interest) brings together projects by European companies, funded by their respective Member State. In total, 159 companies from 12 EU Member States are directly participating in the Industrial Cloud IPCEI, helping to build up a European cloud infrastructure for the future. The projects are being allocated a total investment volume of more than €5.2 billion, with Germany contributing some €1.5 billion.

All project proposals have now been pre-notified to the European Commission. This is the first step to receiving approval under State aid rules. The projects are to be launched in the autumn of 2022.

Based on a European technological foundation, the IPCEI brings together centralised and decentralised computing capacities from a great variety of market players. This is necessary for smart, real-time data processing across corporate and national borders to become possible throughout Europe. The new European cloud infrastructure will be designed in the interests of openness, real-time capability, energy efficiency and cybersecurity. It will strengthen the shared and self-determined use of data and allow industrial users to unleash the full potential of digitalisation and Industrie 4.0. Following on seamlessly from the European data infrastructure initiative “Gaia-X”, the project will give a considerable boost to scaling up industrial applications.

On the IPCEI instrument:

An Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI) is an EU State aid instrument which enables participating Member States to provide funding for highly innovative pan-European investment projects. Although financed primarily by the private sector, these projects are supported by government funding in order to pave the way for complex, investment-intensive development projects which otherwise could not be realised. In order to be eligible for the funding, the projects must be organised in networking structures that enable them to jointly contribute to the strategic goals of the European Union, include at least four participating EU Member States, and give rise to positive spill-over effects across the entire Single Market.