Insights European Commission publishes results of the 2022 Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI)

The Index tracks the progress made in EU Member States in digital development. According to the Index, during the Covid pandemic, Member States advanced in their digitalisation efforts but are still struggling to close the gaps in digital skills, the digital transformation of SMEs, and the roll-out of advanced 5G networks. The Commission says that the Recovery and Resilience Facility, with about €127 billion dedicated to reforms and investments in the area of digital, offers an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate the digital transformation, which the EU and its Member States cannot afford to miss.

The findings show that most Member States’ adoption of key digital technologies by businesses, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data remains low. The Commission says that efforts need to be stepped up to ensure the full deployment of connectivity infrastructure (notably 5G) required for highly innovative services and applications. Member States also need to make better progress in digital skills.

The Commission says that its proposal on the Path to the Digital Decade, agreed by the European Parliament and EU Member States, will facilitate deeper collaboration between Member States and the EU to advance in all dimensions covered by the Index. It provides a framework for Member States to undertake joint commitments and establish multi-country projects that will reinforce their collective strength and resilience in the global context.

According to the Index, Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden remain the EU frontrunners. However, even they are faced with gaps in key areas: the uptake of advanced digital technologies such as AI and Big Data remains below 30% and very far from the 2030 Digital Decade target of 75%, and there is a widespread shortage of skill which is slowing down overall progress and leading to digital exclusion.

The Commission says that identifying digital as a key priority, providing political support and putting in place a clear strategy, robust policies and investments are indispensable ingredients to accelerate the path towards the digital transformation and put the EU on track to achieve the vision set out in the Digital Decade. For further information, click here.