GAIA-X is a project reportedly working on the development of a federation of data infrastructure and service providers for Europe with the objective of ensuring a European digital sovereignty. GAIA-X is part of a broader strategy under the von der Leyen Commission of a European strategic autonomy. The project was first presented to the general public at the Digital Summit 2019 in Dortmund (Germany) and has been continuously developed since then. The GAIA-X initiative took the legal form of an AISBL, an international non-profit organization based in Belgium. Initiated by France and Germany, it seeks to create a proposal for the next generation of data infrastructure for Europe, as well as fostering the digital sovereignty of European cloud services users. It is reportedly based on European values of transparency, openness, data protection and security. The name of the project bears reference to the Greek goddess Gaia.
The reported objective of GAIA-X is to design the next generation of a federated European data infrastructure. To accomplish this it hopes to specify common requirements for a European data infrastructure and develop a reference implementation. According to the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi), openness, transparency and European connectivity are central to GAIA-X. The stated goal of this digital ecosystem is to ensure that companies and business models from Europe can be competitive. Reportedly, GAIA-X's objective is not to become a Cloud Service Provider nor a Cloud Management Platform. The implementation of GAIA-X is described as not being intended to create a competing product to existing offers (e.g. hyperscalers). Instead its stated aim is to link different elements via open interfaces and standards, in order to connect data and make them available to a broad audience. GAIA-X also reportedly seeks to enable the creation of different types of innovation platforms.