Europe needs to close digital gap: report
(BRUSSELS) - The gap between top digital players and lower-performing countries is still too wide, according to the 2017 Digital Economy and Society Index, published by the European Commission.
The Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) is a tool presenting the performance of the 28 EU Member States in a wide range of areas, from connectivity and digital skills to the digitisation of businesses and public services.
The EU can be a digital world leader, says Digital Single Market Commissioner Adrus Ansip: "Europe is gradually becoming more digital but many countries need to step up their efforts. All Member States should invest more to fully benefit from the Digital Single Market. We do not want a two-speed digital Europe."
Overall the EU has progressed and improved its digital performance by 3 percentage points compared to last year, but progress could be faster and the picture varies across Member States (the digital gap – between the most and least digital countries – is 37 percentage points, compared to 36 percentage points in 2014).
Denmark, Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands lead the DESI this year followed by Luxembourg, Belgium, the UK, Ireland, Estonia, and Austria. The top-three EU digital players are also the global leaders, ahead of South Korea, Japan and the United States. Slovakia and Slovenia are the EU countries which have progressed the most.
Despite some improvements, several Member States including Poland, Croatia, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria and Romania, are still lagging behind in their digital development compared to the EU average. Individual country profiles are available online.
The EU executive is due to unveil its mid-term review of the Digital Single Market strategy in May to identify where further efforts or legislative proposals may be needed to address future challenges.