The 2022 The Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) has been published

July 29, 2022

DESI 2022 overview, Credits European Commission

The European Commission has been monitoring Member States’ digital progress through the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) reports since 2014. Each year, DESI includes country profiles which support Member States in identifying areas requiring priority action as well as thematic chapters offering a European-level analysis across key digital areas, essential for underpinning policy decisions.

The DESI 2022 reports are based mainly on 2021 data and tracks the progress made in EU Member States in digital. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Member States have been advancing in their digitalisation efforts but still struggle to close the gaps in digital skills, the digital transformation of SMEs, and the roll-out of advanced 5G networks.

DESI includes the Digital Skills Indicator as a tool to monitor Member States’ performances in reaching the skills targets of the Digital Decade proposal and provide useful information on citizens’ behaviour online and people’s skills and competences in different digital domains. The report highlights how insufficient levels of digital skills hamper the prospects of future growth, deepen the digital divide and increase risks of digital exclusion as more and more services, including essential ones, are shifted online.

Today, 54% of Europeans have at least basic digital skills: 26 percentage points below the target with stark differences among countries. Some Member States like the Netherlands and Finland approach the target with 79% of people with at least basic digital skills in 2021. In eight Member States, the share of individuals with at least basic digital skills is lower than 50%. Romania, Bulgaria, Poland and Italy rank the lowest.

From the perspective of the overall DESI, Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden continue to be the EU frontrunners. However, the European Semester 2022 cycle identified that digital challenges remain also for most of the frontrunners.

The other Member States are advancing and there is an overall upward convergence trend in the EU. This means that the EU as a whole continues to improve its level of digitalisation, and in particular those Member States that started from lower levels are gradually catching up, by growing at a faster rate. For example, amongst the Member States that lagged behind, Italy, Poland and Greece improved their DESI scores substantially over the past five years and implemented sustained investments with a reinforced political focus on digital, supported by European funding.

In all Member States future policy developments will be largely facilitated by the EUR 127 billion dedicated to digital reforms and investments in the 25 national Recovery and Resilience Plans adopted by the Council at the time of writing, investments under Cohesion Policy as well as the joint effort to reach the EU level targets set out in the Digital Decade.

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European Commission (EC)

Branch of the European Union, responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the EU treaties and managing the day-to-day business of the EU.