EU unveils winners on €440m framework deal

Everis, CANCOM and Sopra Steria were among the big winners named on a major new initiative with the European Union’s vehicle for managing IT projects in areas including security and justice.

eu-LISA has appointed the “ecos” consortium to develop and provision a new infrastructure platform to support current and future platforms. The organization has a two-pronged strategy of supporting critical EU systems, while also developing its capabilities to position as an ICT competence centre and service provider in its own right. 

The organization currently operates across multiple locations, including France, Austria and Estonia and has around 150 employees. It has responsibility for running three vital systems: SIS II, the main information system for law enforcement across the Schengen region; VIS, the visa data sharing and monitoring system; and Eurodac, a biometrics database for the processing asylum applications. 

The “ecos” consortium takes its name from the first letters of the participating suppliers: NTT Data division everis, German infrastructure services specialist CANCOM, Greek telco OTE and France’s Sopra Steria. The potential value of the six-year engagement deal to the consortium is €440m, with CANCOM (which will provide infrastructure services and hardware equipment) putting its share at between €110m to €120m. The project is set to kick-off before the end of the current quarter. 

This is one of the biggest contract awards in Europe so far this year. It’s a major win for CANCOM, which has been pushing beyond the boundaries of its native market through a string of acquisitions in recent years. 

Sopra Steria is a long-standing supplier to eu-LISA particularly in the area of border systems. Just last year, it secured a deal (alongside partner IDEMIA) to build a shared Biometric Matching System (sBMS) for Schengen Area border protection, which is set for implementation by 2022. The sBMS will be one of the largest biometric systems in the world, integrating a database of over 400 million third-country nationals with their fingerprints and facial images.

The move by eu-LISA to position itself as a secure, data centre provider to European Government agencies comes at an interesting point in the conversation on cloud sovereignty, following the launch of the GAIA-X initiative. It is another reminder that not all workloads – particularly in the area of critical national infrastructure - will eventually find their way into the hands of the hyper-scalers.