The European Commission has released the 2019 results of its Digital Economy and Society Index, monitoring the digital performance of EU Member States.
The Digital Economy and Society Index found that, for the most part, Member States’ digital performance correlated with their working towards ambitious targets under the EU’s Digital Single Market Strategy. Overall, however, the index recommended accelerated efforts to implement digital transformation strategies in order to remain competitive on the world stage.
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, said: “This year’s Digital Economy and Society Index demonstrates that the speed of digital transformation must accelerate for the EU to stay competitive at world level. In order to succeed, we have to continue to work together for an inclusive digital economy and ensure unimpeded access to digital skills for all EU citizens in order to truly thrive and build a more digital Europe.”
The primary findings of the 2019 Digital Economy and Strategy Index included:
- While online connectivity has improved across Member States, internet capabilities must improve further to meet growing demand;
- Demand for intermediate and advanced digital skills is rising across industrial sectors, but over a third of EU residents lack even basic digital skills, leading to calls for increased training opportunities;
- Digital participation by businesses is growing, with 18% of the EU’s companies using cloud storage facilities; though e-commerce is stagnating; and
- The Member States which were identified in the index as being highly digitally competitive were also the Member States with the highest rates of female participation in digital industries.
Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip said: “In late 2014, when we began drawing up a plan for the Digital Single Market, we wanted to build a long term strategy to stimulate Europe’s digital environment, minimise legal uncertainty and create fair conditions for everyone. Now that the EU has agreed on 28 out of 30 legislative proposals, creating 35 new digital rights and freedoms, the successful implementation of the Digital Single Market can significantly contribute to further improving country results. It is urgent to implement new rules to boost connectivity, data economy and digital public services as well as help Member States to equip citizens with digital skills that are adapted to the modern labour market.”