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Gaia-X as an opportunity for the financial sector

Interview-Patrick-Laurens-Frings

We spoke with the financial expert and co-leader of the Finance and Insurance Data Space, Patrick Laurens-Frings about the development of Gaia-X. In the interview, he revealed who will particularly benefit from this Data Space.

Patrick, I first met you in November at the Gaia-X Summit. It feels ages ago, what has changed since then?
Gaia-X has accomplished the crucial evolutional step from a “think-tank” to a “do-tank”: we have moved on from sharing a vision to doing and creating things together. The project has gained so much momentum, which I notice daily with the onboarding of the financial community to our endeavor. We started as a German and French team but now, only at our last quarterly meeting at our Finance and Insurance Data Space, we had six new countries joining us.

How and why do you engage in Gaia-X?
I am the CIO of a public institution in the finance domain, Caisse des Dépôts, and our institution is traditionally building bridges between public and private initiatives. So Caisse des Dépôts was engaged by design. We contribute to establish a new way of working together, that is why we got engaged very early in the project. And personally: I am a European and I like the idea that building Gaia-X is a one-time opportunity: translating the original European idea of our founding fathers into the 21st century.

You are the co-leader of the Finance and Insurance Data Space at Gaia-X. Who is going to benefits from this data space?
The benefits are multisided: Certainly, the banks and insurance companies will benefit from the databased services that will emerge from the Gaia-X services. But there is so much more: Other service providers will gain new business, governmental agencies will be able to build on collaboration with the private sector, building a competitive advantage for the European financial community. And don’t forget the academic community co-building individual data spaces and thus gaining access and contributing to data and fostering innovation. 

So what’s ahead for the Finance and Insurance Data Space?
In our work as a “do-tank” we are expecting the birth of a variety of consortia in the second semester of this year, that will shape concrete offerings and get them ready for the market. There is already one consortium by our German colleagues (Safe FBDC initiative), we have applied to Eurodat and we are progressing on a few topics where I am confident that new consortia will emerge. Also, we are continuously onboarding new participants from other countries such as Poland and Austria to expand the strong German-French collaboration that we have started with, particularly with our joint Data Space co leading with Dr. Stephan Bredt from the Ministry for Economic Affairs, Energy, Transport and Housing - State of Hessen.
And then there is the new Data Spaces and Business Committee at Gaia-X, which will enhance cross-fertilisation between national Hubs, our data space ecosystem and other Gaia-X Committees. It will be a strong source of inspiration because it is business focussed. We see a lot of opportunities across data spaces, because the finance sector can offer services to all data spaces, e.g. in the industry vertical.

Where do you see Gaia-X in exactly one year from now?
In a year, I want to see offerings with Gaia-X label. The objective is to make Gaia-X real and alive, with online products. This is a unique opportunity. It was too early a few months ago, and it will be too late a few months from now. So let’s do it, together – now.

The interview was conducted by Dr. Margit Aufterbeck.