EU Digital Single MarketRoom for improvement for Europe's digital performance

Today, the European Commission released its results on DESI 2018 (Digital Economy and Society Index), which measures the digital progress in the EU as a whole and across its single Member States. It examines the digital performance in terms of digital connectivity, digital skills online and digital public services.

Even though the EU is getting more digital, progress remains insufficient in comparison to global leaders and in reducing pan-European disparities. Hence, the Commission calls for a rapid completion of the Digital Single Market and greater digital investments.

These are the central results:

  • Member States: Over the past year, the gap between the most and the least digital Member State slightly narrowed – from 36 to 34 percentage points. Among the global leaders in digitization, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands scored the highest ratings – followed by Luxembourg, Ireland, the UK, Belgium and Estonia. Over the last four years, greatest progress was made in Ireland, Cyprus and Spain.

  • Connectivity: 80 percent of households are covered by fast broadband (at least 30 Megabits per second) compared to 76 percent in 2017. The subscription rate amounts to one third. Ultrafast broadband (at least 100 Megabits per second) is available to 58 percent of households with a subscription rate of 15 percent, which is five times higher than in 2014. 4G mobile networks cover on average 91 percent of the EU population and the number of mobile data subscriptions reached 90 percent representing an increase by 57 percent since 2013.

  • Digital skills: By now, there are more digital specialists in the EU, but the number of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics graduates hardly increased. The respective share of graduates aged 20 to 29 years was 0.18 percent in 2013 and 0.19 percent in 2017. Also, there is a strong need to improve basic IT knowledge since 43 percent of Europeans do not have basic digital skills yet.

  • Public services: 58 percent of internet users who submitted forms to their public administration used the online channel compared to 52 percent in 2013. 18 percent also used online health services.

Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, said: "This is a shift, albeit small, in the right digital direction. As a whole, the EU is making progress but not yet enough. In the meantime, other countries and regions around the world are improving faster. This is why we should invest more in digitization and also complete the Digital Single Market as soon as possible: to boost Europe's digital performance, provide first-class connectivity, online public services and a thriving e-commerce sector."

Source: European Commission

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