EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes (Photo: EU Commission)

Recent revelations that US agencies are engaged in widespread international surveillance are an opportunity for Europe, Neelie Kroes said this week.

"The NSA revelations are a big let-down for American companies, undermining their competitive position," said Kroes, referring to international online spying activities conducted by the US National Security Agency. "But they're a big opportunity for Europe. Imagine if we became known as the world's safest, securest online space," Kroes added.

In remarks to the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the EU commissioner, who is in charge of the bloc's Digital Agenda, said Europe should ensure safe trustworthy cloud services, impose legal obligations to manage cyber risks and have effective systems "to prove you are who you say you are online." She also called for better cooperation between EU member nations, saying these should jointly invest in research and innovation.

Kroes said Europe should provide the tools needed to guarantee data security and it should ensure that safeguards are in place so "people can trust big data and seize online opportunity."