Altmaier: Gaia X to play ‘central role’ in digital transition

German Minister of Economy and Energy Peter Altmaier. [EPA-EFE/PHILIPP GUELLAND]

The European Cloud infrastructure initiative Gaia-X will play a “central role” in the EU’s digital transition as it charts its recovery out of the coronavirus crisis, Germany’s Economy Minister Peter Altmaier has said.

Speaking to Berlin reporters on Wednesday (1 July), Altmaier placed high hopes in Europe’s digitalization and its potential for “dynamic growth after the crisis,” adding that he wants to “further the digital sovereignty of Europe” through strengthening “competencies in key technologies” and push the development of a “potent gigabit-infrastructure.”

Altmaier, who was presenting his vision for Germany’s Council Presidency as it takes up its seat on Wednesday, also brought to light the importance of the Franco-German Gaia-X project, saying that “it will play a central role,” in Europe’s digital transition.

Gaia-X is set to offer European cloud data storage alternatives to US-American market leaders like Microsoft or Amazon, where most European users and businesses currently have their data stored.

While the initiative is usually heralded as an example of Franco-German cooperation, this time Altmaier emphasized that “Germany initiated it” and called it “the federal government’s most ambitious project so far”. Later he added that “we made it into a joint German-French project.”

For the next six months, Altmaier’s importance on the European stage will reach new heights. During the German presidency of the EU-council, the economic minister will chair five council formations – trade, energy, digitalization, cohesion and competition – and will thus have to oversee the EU’s recovery from the coronavirus crisis.

Edited by Samuel Stolton

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