European Commission vice-president Neelie Kroes’ 2012 views cloud computing as a way to boost the struggling economies of Europe.

In January, Kroes, who is also Europe’s information society commissioner, assembled local public agencies and private companies in a €10 million European Cloud Partnership to lay groundwork for moving government agencies’ IT systems to the cloud.

“It’s where the future will be,” Kroes said at Cable Congress in Brussels on March 8.

Policymakers and company executives will meet at The 2012 European Cloud Computing Conference on March 21 to develop the continent’s cloud strategy.

The cloud parallels with another Kroes push to harmonize Europe’s many and varied telecoms and copyright licensing rules to let online services more easily license content to rent and sell across members’ national borders.

“The cloud is the perfect way to introduce legal content offers online,” said Kroes. “Our flagging economies need us to make the best of it – we need to act to ensure speedy uptake.

“With many other technologies,” Kroes continued, “We’ve seen problems getting in the way – fragmentation, lock-in, and public sector ineffectiveness. The cloud computing strategy I’m currently preparing will anticipate those problems so we can prevent them. Where these barriers exist, I am determined to overcome them.”

GigaOM