At a recent European cloud computing event hosted by Microsoft, Neelie Kroes, European Union commissioner for the digital agenda, said the European cloud computing market needs to be both open and competitive.

Kroes outlined three pillars of a proposed approach to cloud computing in Europe. First, users' rights, data security and privacy need to be protected in a legal framework, Kroes said.

Second, investment needs to be made in "technical and commercial fundamentals," including research efforts focused on central issues, such as reliability and security.

Finally, Kroes suggested the EU should support pilot cloud computing projects in the market, in order to "push public procurers into action."

Kroes also praised the features and functionality offered by the cloud, as well as its environmental profile. "I cannot wait to show off the green implications of this work, as we struggle to take better care of our fragile planet," Kroes said.

Migration to the cloud has in many cases been a bottom-up, grass-roots affair, According to a recent InformationWeek report, state and local governments in the U.S. are adopting cloud computing at a faster rate than the federal government.