TALLINN – Estonia ranks ninth in the European Union when it comes to progress towards the digital single market, it appears from the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) 2018 published by the Commission on Friday.
According to DESI 2018, the EU is getting more digital, but progress remains insufficient for Europe to catch up with global leaders and to reduce differences across member states. This calls for a quick completion of the digital single market and increased investments in digital economy and society.
"This is a shift, albeit small, in the right digital direction. As a whole, the EU is making progress but not yet enough. In the meantime, other countries and regions around the world are improving faster. This is why we should invest more in digital and also complete the digital single market as soon as possible: to boost Europe's digital performance, provide first-class connectivity, online public services and a thriving e-commerce sector," Andrus Ansip, vice-president of the Commission for the digital single market, said.
Denmark, Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands scored the highest ratings in DESI 2018 and are among the global leaders in digitalization. They are followed by Luxembourg, Ireland, the U.K., Belgium and Estonia. Ireland, Cyprus and Spain progressed the most -- by more than 15 points -- over the last four years. However, some other EU countries still have a long way to go and the EU as a whole needs to improve to be competitive on the global stage.
Estonia ranks ninth out of the 28 EU member states, belonging to the high-performing cluster of countries. The country progressed over the last year but more slowly than the EU average. Estonia remains a leading country in Europe for digital public services, as it has been for many years. Its citizens are well-skilled in the use of digital technologies and are keen users of a variety of internet services. Regarding connectivity, fixed broadband coverage is very low, being partially compensated by mobile coverage, as is the take-up of ultrafast broadband. The key challenge in the Estonian economy remains the digitisation of companies.
The annual Digital Economy and Society Index aims to measure the progress of EU member states towards a digital economy and society. It helps EU countries identify areas requiring priority investments and action. The DESI is also a key tool when analyzing digital in the European Semester, which allows EU countries to discuss their economic and budget plans and monitor progress at specific times throughout the year.
This year, both DESI and the more detailed analysis of national digital policies, providing an overview of progress and of policy implementation by member states, which was previously called Europe's Digital Progress Report, are published jointly using the DESI name.
The Commission has presented 29 legislative proposals under its digital single market strategy and called, in a recent Communication, the European Parliament and member states to adopt these proposals by the end of 2018.