The European Data Flow Monitoring Initiative

Monitoring data flows across the European Union’s territory is of strategic importance to EU decision-making and investment choices in the area of cloud computing. It is also key to assess the competitiveness of the European digital economy based on the analysis of current and future patterns of data flows while fostering the free movement of data principle across the EU economy. Therefore, the European Commission is currently working on setting up the European Data Flow Monitoring which will map data flows across the EU territory.

The European Data Flow Monitoring has two complementary objectives:

  1. To build a European mapping of data flows that will serve to the identification of main strategic data flow corridors across the Europe Union and;
  2. To assess the economic value of data flows to the European digital economy.

To support the above first objective, Directorate-General Communications Networks, Content and Technology, in collaboration with the Joint Research Centre, is launching in 2019 a first company and public entities’ voluntary survey to gather aggregated and anonymized data on:

  • The amount of data stored within cloud infrastructures by companies and public entities within the EU (i.e. data stocks) and;
  • Data moved from one cloud infrastructure to another across the EU (i.e. data flows).

The gathered data from the survey will then be used for the development of a publicly available aggregated European mapping of current data stocks and flows across the EU territory as of 2019 for the preliminary mapping and as of 2020 for final mapping.

The European Data Flow Monitoring will also support a sound implementation of the Free flow of non-personal data regulation (Regulation (EU) 2018/1807), which started to apply on 28 May 2019, through monitoring data flow patterns as of 2020.