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Gaia-X was created to allow for the secure, open, and transparent use of data. In this way, self-determined decisions can be made on how and where data is stored, processed, and used within the data infrastructure. Gaia-X is characterised by the following core elements:

  • We want to create the next generation of data infrastructure for Europe, its states, its companies, its citizens, and its global partners.
  • This infrastructure needs to meet the highest standards and foster innovation. We regard this infrastructure as the cradle of an ecosystem, where data and services can be made available, collected, and shared in an environment of trust.
  • The concept focuses on the precise needs of users and the added benefit as presented by the use cases.
  • The existing concepts will be regarded as a proposal to Europe. We are pursuing this path alongside other European partners and in cooperation with the European Commission.

This page shall explore and clarify 6 main questions frequently asked about Gaia-X:

  • What the association shall be and does
  • What is sovereignty and the relationship with institutions
  • What is the relationship between Gaia-X and extra-european operators, in particular Hyperscalers
  • Role in the context of IPCEI, RRF and of other public funding initiatives
  • Data spaces objectives and deliverables within Gaia-X
  • Role of the Hubs and relationship with Gaia-X

There are three reasons why we need Gaia-X:

  1. Data availability: We need a trustworthy, secure, and transparent data infrastructure to exchange and process data. This is how we can use the economies of scale created by the availability of large data sets in Europe.
  2. Innovation: We require a digital ecosystem that allows for the development of innovative products while also assisting European businesses and business models in scaling up and becoming globally competitive. Gaia-X serves as the foundation for this.

Gaia-X aims to create standards, foster software communities and facilitate the creation of data spaces. Therefore, Gaia-X focuses on three outcomes:

  • Architecture specifications describe the functionalities of Gaia-X and provide conformity criteria.
  • Open-source software code to ensure an open implementation of federation services and further enable an open-source community.
  • Instruments of compliance including methods and tools for conformance testing and compliance of services.

The Gaia-X organisational structure is built on three bodies: the Gaia-X Association, the national Gaia-X Hubs and the Gaia-X Community. Within these, there are various working groups and committees. The exchange within the pillars, and towards other stakeholders (e.g., EU Commission, international initiatives) is ensured.

The Gaia-X Association is an international non-profit association under Belgian Law (French: association internationale sans but lucrative, in short: AISBL). It aims to develop regulatory frameworks, ensure that necessary services are made available, consolidate, and facilitate the work and collaboration within the Gaia-X community, represent the members of Gaia-X and promote international cooperation.

The Gaia-X Hubs act as the voices of user ecosystems at a national level. They develop ecosystems, bundle national initiatives, and provide a central contact point to interested parties in their respective countries. All Gaia-X Hubs are in close exchange with each other to ensure international alignment about their activities, defining requirements, and identifying regulatory hurdles. The network of Gaia-X Hubs will support the growth of a dynamic ecosystem from a bottom-up approach, from a national level to a European and international level.

Gaia-X will foster and support an open-source software community in which all contributors are welcome. The Gaia-X Community works together on a common platform based on work packages. Members and non-members collaborate side by side, from both the user and provider perspectives.

In general, the term ‘data space’ refers to a type of data relationship between trusted partners, with each applying the same high standards and rules to the storage and sharing of their data.

An international team of more than 340 members and over 15 Hubs are working together to make Gaia-X possible. Established large corporations coexist with young start-ups. Numerous cloud solution providers collaborate with representatives from a variety of industries, including manufacturing, finance, transportation, and mobility. Furthermore, participation is broad: state institutions, associations, and research institutes, in addition to the private sector, are involved in this large-scale project. This helps to avoid the possibility of only solving very specific problems or developing solutions in isolation. Gaia-X is open to new interested parties to develop it further. Everyone can participate in the way that best suits their needs. For instance, they can contribute with their technical expertise, suggest new use cases or actively and continuously participate in open working groups.

Gaia-X is distinguished by its openness and transparency. Gaia-X remains open to welcome new European and cross-border participants and contributors in the future. Market participants within and outside Europe who share our goals of data sovereignty and data availability may also participate in Gaia-X. The European Commission comfort letter contains additional information in this regard.

In general, there are three ways to get involved:

  1. Represent the project as an member, joining a community of over 340 members
  2. Contribute to the national Gaia-X Hubs, working hand in hand with your country coordinator
  3. Participate in the Gaia-X Community by attending its events, calls and meetings, become a speaker or panelist, submit blogs and articles, position podcasts and many more.

Europe and its member states already run a number of initiatives that lay the groundwork for Gaia-X. Codes of conduct, rules, standards, and community building are examples of these. Gaia-X is not a greenfield project – it will build on such existing results and activities. This openness to national and European initiatives with similar objectives as Gaia-X gives the project a strong momentum for joint European cooperation. Building upon existing solutions and their further development, we want to launch competitive offers from Europe out onto the world market.

The project can be seen as a proposal addressed to Europe.  The system is intended to be open and not restricted by national borders.. We want to pursue this path with partners from Europe and are in communication with other countries, the EU Commission and international companies and organisations. Against this background, efforts are already underway and an intensive dialogue with the Commission is taking place to align the European cloud federation and Gaia-X and make these a success as part of the European data strategy. In its data strategy, the Commission announced that it ‘will foster synergies between the work on European cloud federation and Member States’ initiatives such as Gaia-X’. In addition, a large number of countries have already joined Gaia-X and established a national Gaia-X Hubs. In parallel, the Association collaborates closely with further countries in order to develop a thriving Gaia-X network across Europe.

The Gaia-X Labelling is a set of automatable rules that enforce the same level of verified descriptive information for all entities in the Gaia-X Conceptual model, primarily Participants and Service Offerings. The Gaia-X Labelling result is a Verifiable Credential from a technical standpoint.

GXFS is an abbreviation for Gaia-X Federations Services, and it is the Gaia-X toolbox for creating interoperable ecosystems based on the Gaia-X Reference Architecture. GXFS is one of the Gaia-X deliverables.

The GXFS specifications are being developed in the Federation Services Working Group.

No. Please check the ‘What is Gaia-X Compliance?’ and ‘What are GXFS?’ questions.

The Gaia-X compliance can be obtained for a Self-Description file by submitting the file to an instance of the Gaia-X Compliance Service.

On November 25, 2021, Gaia-X released its first Labelling Framework. Check back on publications for all versions to-date.

An ecosystem is an independent group of participants that directly or indirectly consume, produce, or provide services, such as data, storage, computing, network services, including combinations of them. Further details can be checked in the Gaia-X Architecture Document glossary.

Please subscribe to the Gaia-X newsletter here to stay up to date with the Gaia-X activities. In addition, future and potential new members can attend regular onboarding webinars to stay up to date. Please click here to register for one of the upcoming events. More information is available on the Gaia-X website. The publications and use case sections are equally worthwhile to be checked.

If you have further questions, please reach out the Gaia-X team using the following contact form.

As per our 5y plan 2023 is the ‘Growth’ year, which means extended market adoption. To do this we need to first operationalize the Gaia-X compliance services to make them available to the market and thus enable the demand for compliance by adopters: users asking for GX compliance services in their procurements and providers willing to submit their service description and be qualified against the Gaia-X criteria for compliance.

Several. In 2021 – the ‘Definition’ year, we described Gaia-X in terms of documents and specifications (notably the Architecture, the Policies and Rules, the Labels); also, we started the first project for developing the Federation Services (GXFS DE specifications were defined) and finally we started the first lighthouse project, at the time Catena-X (federation for the creation of a common Automotive dataspace). In 2022 – adoption year – we had the objective to start developing the Gaia-X Framework (we evolved the specifications, we created the specification for the trust framework – the core of Gaia-X, we had the first drops of the GXFS, we started developing the trust framework components through our SW lab, constituted in 2022, several (5) Hackathons, and developing the initial MVP of the Gaia-X compliance (2 api available to internal members since mid 2022: compliance and registry to initially ‘play’ with it). Also, we started the first LHP on the infrastructure side of the X that is aimed to create a federated infrastructure to support the computing continuum, and we started multiple other LHP (8 at the moment and dozens in pipe).

Gaia-X is an AISBL, a pre-competitive, not for profit and not a commercial offering. The AISBL governs the work to develop the Gaia-X standard, composed of a set of rules (defined in the PRD) and a technology framework (the so-called Gaia-X Framework) that is publicly available on our website. We also supported our members developing several projects, some in response to many EC and LM calls, and endorsing those projects committing to the adoption of the Gaia-X standard to trigger the creation of the first Gaia-X services. All we developed so far is openly accessible and it comprises documents and OSS. In the move to operationalization, the AISBL is thinking about the development and provisioning of services to support the business, including the provision of a Digital Clearing House (to get qualified), the development of an Academy and Certification programs to provide technical support, directly or through partners.

Ditto (see above). In addition, Gaia-X helps and support the development of specific domain dataspace creation through several thematic working groups dedicated to verticals, through the development of white papers on each vertical and the use cases deriving from the creation of common dataspaces and the adoption of Gaia-X. These WG are open to members that have a unique chance to sit in the largest representation of all European players in each sector and grouping large and small enterprises to assemble the best of breed across all members. In addition, the Hubs constellation of Gaia-X captures needs and opportunities across each region, with the support of all Government of the hosting state and creating the premises for synergies and multi-national projects to create common dataspaces in each sector. Notably Automotive, Manufacturing, Agriculture, Mobility, Smart Cities, are amongst the many that already have consortiums of partners developing real market solutions, each one grouping experts of the sectors and the best representative in the industry to drive by competence the adoption and evolution of Gaia-X as a set of rules and technology.

The Trust Framework implements one of the 3 pillars necessary to develop common data spaces, which are: Federation, Data Exchange, and Compliance. The TF supports the measurement and objective evaluation of Compliance against a set of commonly agreed upon rules, thus enabling trust as a key element to adopt any digital service or data platform, without which no data economy can fly.

The operationalization of the Gaia-X Framework is the subject of 2023, although an MVP is already available, and plans are in place to allow by end of Q4 (start Q1) the first qualification of compliance for services (notably for the early adopters represented by the LHP).

There is only one Gaia-X Framework, and the GXFS is not a separate Gaia-X. GXFS is an acronym standing for: Gaia-X Federation Services, and it was used in 2020 to start the first project, funded by Germany, to help the AISBL develop the specification and code of Gaia-X. GXFS is a supplier of Gaia-X AISBL and the funding goes to a public tender that was launched in 2020. The GXFS DE has since end of 2021 sided by a new GXFS FR, funded by the French Government, under the same premises: supply the AISBL with the necessary resources to develop the Gaia-X Framework. The one and only Gaia-X Framework is thus made of multiple assets: Functional Specifications, Technical Specifications, and code. The code itself is made of optional free code that is a toolbox (you can use it or develop your own) and compulsory code that constitute the core of the trust framework (that cannot be altered as the core for compliance verification). The GXFS projects developed and are still developing in a continuous evolution parts of this framework allowing the move from ‘Definition’ (2021) to ‘Adoption’ (2022).

Two projects have been funded by two country governments (Germany and France). Both are under the governance of the AISBL defining the requirements and apportioning the development to the different streams accommodating the need to obey to public procurement rules (that have limited flexibility to change defined requirements) and the nature of an always evolving set of requirements by the AISBL as the only sovereign owner of the Gaia-X specifications. The two projects are simply synergetic, not different, and their plan have been agreed with the AISBL to take the best out of them.

Solely through its member fees. The AISBL gets no grants or subsidies by any public institution. The AISBL is a totally private foundation representing thus the voice of the market and not being subject to any standard of political body.

The AISBL is not a commercial entity, so strictly speaking there are no business lines. As explained the purpose of the Association is to create the necessary premises to enable a market adoption of the Gaia-X standard, which is based on the members requirements, representing the voice of the market in asking what is necessary to achieve a necessary level of trust to adopt data platforms required to move any sector to the digital era and the creation of products and services based on data. On the other side the AISBL is supporting the creation of projects in all verticals through its WG and is undertaking now the move to operationalization, that will enable the market adoption of Gaia-X as said above.

The LHP are the frontrunner demonstrating why Gaia-X is necessary to develop use cases that otherwise and before could not be realized. LHP demonstrate how sharing data across multiple players in an ecosystem is the only way to improve existing processes but most important change completely those processes and creating unprecedented value products or added value services based on the insight given by own and other’s data. The lighthouse project can implement small or large dataspaces, in any context, and there can be many. We have a set of defined (13) criteria for eligibility of a LHP and evaluate new candidates through our process. The LHP also work in synergy sharing experience and starting later this year we aim to develop best practices and lessons learnt from all of them and make them available through documentation and dedicated events and showcases (the first being Day2 of this 2022 Summit).

There was no restructuring in May 2022… Keep it structural and not fall into questions related to internal mgt staff reorganization (this is not relevant for the news and typical food for gossip): The association, like any organization, went through internal adjustments. Some were structural and started already in 2021 (restructuring of the Committees and WG organization necessary to tie WG to deliverables) and some were internal to the Mgt team staff as in any organization.

They define their own scope, objectives and plans to develop their contribution. The contributions and each WG is instrumental to achieve the overall picture of Gaia-X, i.e. to develop the functional specifications, technical specifications and code constituting the Gaia-X framework.

As explained above, GXFS DE is one of the projects feeding Gaia-X with components (specifications and code) to fill the Gaia-X Framework. We have a MoU to rule the collaboration, joint communication and continuous interaction, but we need to have clear communication on what is what to avoid GXFS is perceived as a parallel or German implementation of Gaia-X, which is not the case.

We have the same and bigger endorsement and support from government around Europe. 15 EU hubs and relative governments are sitting in our GovB.

No. Hubs are independent but closely connected and synergetic with the central Association. Their reason to be is related to the capability of enabling the adoption of the Gaia-X standard within their regions, in collaboration and with the support of local governments, and leveraging the network of local members and also non-members interested in collaborating in Gaia-X initiatives.

Hubs collect the local members to concretely identify business opportunities around specific and across verticals, within and across countries. They are crucial to the Gaia-X adoption.

The DSBC is responsible to look after the business side of the shop. The DSBC has evolved in time and is now focussed on 3 main areas of responsibilities: Hubs & Verticals (to connect, scout and support for new initiative arising within the hubs that can bring to market projects), Projects (to qualify and connect to existing and future LHP and projects in general, ensuring the collection of specific business needs and requirements and feeding them through the Gaia-X evolution) and DSBA (Data Space Business Alliance) as the alliance of Gaia-X, IDSA, FIWARE and BDVA aimed to create a single view in Europe around the concept of Dataspaces (DSBA having 3 main objectives: create a common view and process from inception to deployment to create a data space, create a convergent technical architecture leveraging on all existing assets from the four organizations, and creating a network of networks leveraging the hubs constellation of the 4 to multiply the opportunity for Gaia-X adoption in the market).

The TC is the lead for all technical decisions on the Gaia-X architecture and the Gaia-X technology framework. The TC also leads the SW Labs and looks after the validation of functional requirements, transforming them into technical requirements and enabling their implementation into development of SW assets.

The PORC, now renamed as PRLD (Policy Rules and Labelling Committee) was in charge originally just for the PRD, but its scope was extended at the beginning of 2022 to cover also Labelling and now Compliance through the Trust Framework. The PRLD defines the rules that are then to be implemented by the Gaia-X framework to achieve the maximum level of automated verification.

In 20 months, (from March 2021 since the AISBL was constituted and mgt was appointed) the project has reached a level of maturity, in both principles, requirements and code, that is a challenge under many aspects. None of these aspects are to be seen as obstacles but as necessary elements of complexity. Amongst them the two main important are the need to accommodate for different views and expectations from the many different members and countries, including individual interests, priorities and conflictual interests. Second the need to find the right skills to move from a ‘Vision’ to a ‘Product’ or service, that requires the contribution of engineering resources not always available from within the WG. And third the need to act within the scope of a non-competitive organization where there is an attention to not create competitive advantages for any specific member. These have been overcome thanks to the rules for participation and equal contribution by all members (as asseverated by DGCOMP), but the contribution of several external resources on the technical activities (including the GXFS projects, the SW Labs and now the involvement of market operators for the move to operationalization in the market of the compliance services), and relying on market projects run independently by members consortium out of the governance of the AISBL but fully committed to adopt the Gaia-X standard and to deliver market results. Last but not least the AISBL has always maintained a political agnostic position and has been open to any member from any country from the beginning to ensure the solution is a good one to help EU compete in a market that is its nature global and cannot be won through protectionist approaches.

The BoD is limited to EU companies only by the statutes.

Gaia-X is not forcing nor ensuring this, but the projects adopting Gaia-X will be committed to develop concrete services in the market. This is the purpose of the initial LHP, front runner of the Gaia-X initiative, and the criteria for endorsing new ones.

There is no such a magic recipe in the technology now, but this is not the purpose of Gaia-X. Nonetheless, if the question is related to the OSS that the AISBL is creating and making available, the answer is twofold: on one side the so called (see above) compulsory code (i.e. the one that will operate the Gaia-X compliance) will be run in protected and controlled nodes preventing tampering (so not open to modifications), whilst the so called ‘toolbox’ code will be made available to be adopted as is or modified but it will not cause corruption of the compulsory code above. Therefore Gaia-X will provide for mechanisms to trust the identity and credentials of digital services used through an OSS implementation run in controlled nodes.

We are not in control of Horizon calls, but we received and endorsed several proposals from our members responding to those calls which, apparently more and more, are seeing Gaia-X as a convergent standard to refer to.

Gaia-X was born on the simple consideration that there is no single sector today not impacted by digitalization, and more specifically there is no sector that will not suffer or die in competition without the ability to regenerate or reinvent itself through the definition of new portfolio of offerings based on data. Based on this consideration we understood that the dilemma is: are we in control or controlled by technology? And knowing the answer we dig into why the level of adoption of data infrastructures (or more generally cloud technology) is still so low. The answer is simple: we don’t need a new technology or a new European champion of cloud, we need to convince people to use existing technologies and to do that a substantial gap of trust must be filled. That’s why believe Gaia-X will have a pervasive impact, and not because it is European, but because there are no other similar initiatives around the world today trying to translate the need for ‘Digital Sovereignty’ into something concrete and not just wishful thinking or a mere hope that regulations will solve the problem.

As explained above we are aiming to deliver the first version of our Digital Clearing House, which will allow, first to our LHP (front runners) and consequently to all, to become Gaia-X compliant. This will move the decision of adoption, from the AISBL to the Market, producing the snowball effect we hope and expect.

None in particular and all of them. But for sure the ones that will produce higher impact on the economy (industrial in general) and the ones that will impact on areas where trust is a human being expectation (health, financial, PS, etc.) can be considered as the most impactful.

Policy makers are already defining regulation in the digital sector that is creating an increase in awareness on the topic. The purpose of the AISBL is not in advising or contributing to policy making, but we are doing two important and unique things: on one side we are representing the voice of the market with more than 350 members defining what ‘they’ want from digital, and on the other side we are developing a framework, that also through technology will help verifying the compliance to those rules. The real challenge that we are facing, is the explanation increase in regulation (tech-reg) that runs the risk not to be understood and implemented fast enough in existing services, thus leaving users and providers of technology in a limbo of uncertainty. What we believe at Gaia-X is that this entropy of regulation should be compensated by an inversion of paradigm, moving from tech-reg to reg-tech, that is using technology to verify compliance to those rules, otherwise subject to interpretation and subjective evaluations. The ‘regulation by automation’ mantra is one of the drivers of Gaia-X and at the core of the mechanisms being implemented by the Trust Framework. Technology will never replace regulation, but a convergence of the two is necessary when humans and laws cannot provide the level of trust people search and can’t find.

Each project requires a story telling and time to be explained. This is the purpose of Summit day2 where the 8 LHP will be on stage talking about their experience and showing concrete deliverables. Then each sector, like Financial Services, Energy, Health and others, are continuing to develop first of all a common vision around how to build common dataspaces within and across countries within those domains and these use cases are incubators for business cases, which will then turn into projects. Healthcare, to give an example, has collected more than 400 participants in their activity started beginning of 2022, Finance is collecting the largest banks in Europe to define models for Risk Management, KYC and Fraud Mgt, Tourism has already one started project (Eona-X, focusses on the travel side) and others starting together with the work driven by the Spanish hub focusses on this sector with strong endorsement by Secretary of State Carme Artiga, and so on.

As explained above, the hubs are the ‘go-to-market’ of Gaia-X, so their contribution is crucial and they are contributing developing use cases, business cases, incubating new projects and in the end spinning out projects that then become independent mechanisms to create Gaia-X services in the market. Also, Hubs are crucial to help the central association reach in a capillary way the region and the vast community also of non-members of any size and type, acting as advocates of Gaia-X and identifying talents and potential new members that can contribute actively to the endeavour.

The GovB meets, as per the GovB defined rules, twice a year in one of the states participating. Each local Gov interpedently appoints a participant to the GovB from their ministry.

The GovB is defined as part of the statues of the AISBL as an element of steering and advise to take into account the States priorities and ensure Gaia-X represent them all. Also, the GovB collects Gov reps that are appointed to be the reference for their local hub, thus creating a continuum between state priorities in digital transition (notably the RRF but not only) and the concrete project proposals that can come from their hubs to create a win-win approach. The GovB is by statues independent and not controlled or ruled by the AISBL, so they have autonomously defined their internal participation rules, and voted to appoint Alberto Paolomo (CDO or Spain) as their chairman for the period.

There will be a dedicated session in day2 of the summit with the hub coordinators and hubs participants talking about it. The main achievements are the creation of local community, the connection with local governments representatives, the expansion of projects initiatives stated in one country to others, and the reciprocal support to boost smaller countries to accelerate the development of solutions learning from experience of larger ones.

None of the two: the AISBL decides, which is made of 3 committees (PRC; TC, DSBC) and 19 WG. Each WG takes decisions (define requirements, develop documents etc) which are then approved by the relative Committee and ratified by the BoD. The Mgt team coordinates and provide overall strategy and operations management. As in any association there is no single authority for any decision but a consensual process that must represent all members. The rules for collaboration and their fairness and effectiveness of representation of the membership have been asseverated by the DG-COMP in 2021 as a proof.

All these names are already supporting the AISBL participating, as active members, in the AISBL activities and several working groups. Some of these, like Amadeus and Airbus, are in addition already active in LHP or developing new project ideas. Google, Amazon or others are invited and have equal opportunities to define projects, but this is up to them to partner with or become partner of existing consortium of members willing to run a project. The AISBL is not driving any of the project (because as said we are not commercial and pre-competitive) but we depend on our members willing to adhere to the Gaia-X standard through the implementation of real services in the market, and this can only happen through real projects or through the independent decision of a member (or non-member) to apply to compliance and subscribe to the catalogue of Gaia-X compliant services available in the market. This is what we will show at the summit as an initial step and, as explained above, will be the focus of Q4 onward through 2023, the year of Growth.

Gaia-X AISBL endorse any project willing to be Gaia-X compliant and committing to the development of Gaia-X compliant solutions in the market. Endorsement occurs through an analysis of the project objectives and proposed solution and, for the LHP, going through some more specific rules as defined above.

Yes, there are 13 criteria defined and evaluated by the DSBC. Any project can candidate to become a LHP provided is run by members, it complies to those criteria (which fundamentally are the concrete business outcome exist for that project, the scalability of it, the mandatory commitment to comply and adhere to the evolution of the Gaia-X framework, and the constitution of a consortium to operate the services in the market – no R&D).

The members. They participate in the WG, the WG submit their decisions to the Committees and the BoD ratifies those decisions. The Mgt provide guidance, vision and strategy, and support the organization and the members in their operations.