European Commission: Progress still needed for a digital Europe

Business, Comm & Politics, Digital & Media, ITC, Studies

A recently released new Digital Economy and Society Index developed by the European Commission shows there are plenty of digital opportunities waiting to be unlocked to benefit European citizens and companies. From shopping or studying online, to paying bills or using public services over the Internet – the Web is the answer, if the right conditions are in place. Data shows that the picture of how digital countries are varies across the EU and that borders remain an obstacle to a fully-fledged Digital Single Market.

The new tool gives snapshots, per country, of connectivity (how widespread, fast and affordable broadband is), Internet skills, the use of online activities from news to shopping, how key digital technologies (e-invoices, cloud services, e-commerce, etc) and digital public services such as e-government and e-health are developed. The data is mostly from 2013 and 2014 and gives an overview of how digital Europe is, including rankings of the top digital performers.

According to the study, the digital experience depends of the country one lives in, with Denmark ranking the highest, while Romania closes the ranks. Detailed data is available for each European country the country sheets.

A majority of Europeans use the Internet on a regular basis, with the average being of 75% in 2014 (up from 72% in 2013). Per country, Luxembourg leads the pack in internet usage (93%), while Romania ends it (48%).

The study shows that Europeans go online to access audiovisual content, with 49% having played or downloaded games, images, films or music. On the other hand, 39% of European households that have a TV watch video on demand.

When it comes of business, small and medium businesses are still facing barriers when it comes of e-commerce, as only 15% of them sell online . From those selling online, less than half are selling across borders.

Digital public services are a reality in some European countries, but completely lack from others. This way, 33% European Internet users used online forms to relay information to public authorities (from 69% in Denmark to 6% in Romania). Also, 26% of general practitioners in Europe use e-prescriptions to transfer prescriptions over the internet to pharmacists, but this varies from 100% in Estonia to 0% in Malta.

These figures show Europe is going digital, and Europeans enjoying great new services. The vast majority of Europeans are going online: citizens want to access online content, we need to make it easier for them. A Digital Single Market can give them wider access, help businesses innovate and grow, and boost trust in online services like e-government or banking. The European Commission will help make it happen

Andrus Ansip,

Vice-President for the Digital Single Market

The Digital Index shows how radically people have changed the way they watch films: they still follow their favourite series on TV but a considerable number – 40% – watches also video on demand and films online. We need to adapt to citizens’ needs and we have to think about adapting our policy.

Günther H. Oettinger,

Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society

The Digital Index is particularly relevant as the European Commission prepares its Digital Single Market strategy, scheduled to be unveiled in May. It aims to create the right conditions for European citizens and companies to make better use of the great opportunities of digital technology across borders. By creating a Digital Single Market, Europe can generate up to €250 billion in additional growth, and hundreds of thousands of new jobs, in the next five years.