World Economy

Europe Should Strive to Promote Digital Economy

Mariya Gabriel (L) with Gunther OettingerMariya Gabriel (L) with Gunther Oettinger

The European Commission has published the results of its Digital Economy and Society Index 2018, which measures the progress of member states towards the Digital Single Market.

Digital Economy and Society Index 2018 measures the performance of EU member states in digital connectivity, online skills and digitization of businesses and public services, to determine how effectively the transition towards digital technologies is being managed across the bloc, reported.

The report indicates that good progress is being made in all of these areas, but also warns that for Europe to take its place as a world leader in digital technologies, the transition must happen more quickly. The report calls for greater efforts to quickly complete the digital single market, and for the European Commission and private investors to increase funding for innovative technologies.

Results of the Digital Economy and Society Index 2018 indicate that connectivity is growing, but not at a rate which is commensurate with increasing demand. Almost 80% of homes in the EU are covered by fast broadband, and 91% of Europe’s population is covered by 4G mobile networks, up from 84% in the index for last year.

The report also identified a skills gap which has not changed significantly since last year; 43% of Europeans still do not have basic digital skills, which has prompted the European Commission to issue a package of concrete actions earlier this year.

Areas in which the EU has made improvements include the digitization of public services and their uptake, with some 58% of internet users now submitting forms to public administrations using online channels, and 18% of Europeans using online health services.

European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel drew attention to major upcoming legislative reforms which seek to catalyze progress and accelerate digitization throughout the bloc.

She stated: “We look forward to a rapid progress on major reforms such as the European Electronic Communications Code aiming at boost investments in enhanced connectivity… By integrating more digital technologies and equipping them with skills, we will further empower citizens, businesses and public administrations. This is the way to succeed the digital transformation of our societies.”

Commissioner Guenther Oettinger, who began as digital economy commissioner and was then moved to the post of commissioner in charge of the budget, was also present.

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