Today, the European Commission released its 2020 Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), which tracks the progress in the area of digitization at EU level as well as the digital competitiveness of individual Member States. The DESI 2020 highlights the importance of digital technologies, particularly during the Corona pandemic, and shows progress by all Member States in the key areas examined.
Based on Eurostat data, specialist studies and special survey methods, the annually published DESI measures the progress of the Member States towards a digital economy and society in the five policy areas of connectivity, digital skills, individual internet usage, integration of digital technologies by businesses and digital public services.
These are the main findings:
Regarding overall digital performance, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands are among the top leaders followed by Malta, Ireland and Estonia. Over the last five years, Ireland has made the most significant progress, followed by the Netherlands, Malta and Spain.
Connectivity: In 2019, 78 percent of EU households had a fixed broadband subscription – compared to 70 percent in 2014. While 4G networks currently cover almost all of Europe, Fixed Very High Capacity broadband networks are available to only 44 percent of EU households.
Finland, Germany, Hungary and Italy are the most advanced regarding the readiness to adopt 5G networks, but so far only 17 Member States have assigned spectrum to enable commercial 5G services.
Digital competencies: 42 percent of EU citizens still lack basic digital skills. Moreover, a lack of qualified personnel with digital expertise prevails given that 64 percent of large companies and 56 percent of small and mid-sized enterprises reported that vacancies for Information Communication Technology specialists were hard to fill during 2018.
Private Internet use: The majority of Europeans uses the Internet at least once a week (85 percent) and shops online (71 percent), uses Internet banking (66 percent) and video calls (60 percent). This trend of growing Internet usage continued and sparked particularly during the corona pandemic.
Digital public services: In 2019, 67 percent of Internet users who submitted forms to their public administration used online channels – compared to 57 percent in 2014. In the area of eGovernment and eHealth, Estonia, Spain, Denmark, Finland and Latvia rank among the top performers.
Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President, commented: "The coronavirus crisis has demonstrated how crucial it is for citizens and businesses to be connected and to be able to interact with each other online. We will continue to work with Member States to identify areas where more investment is needed so that all Europeans can benefit from digital services and innovations."