The Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) is a composite index that summaries 30 relevant indicators on Europe’s digital performance and tracks the evolution of EU Member States, across five main dimensions: Connectivity, Human Capital, Use of Internet, Integration of Digital Technology, Digital Public Services.
- Connectivity – measures the deployment of broadband infrastructure and its quality.
- Human Capital – measures the skills needed to take advantage of the possibilities offered by a digital society.
- Use of Internet – accounts for the variety of activities performed by citizens already online.
- Integration of Digital Technology – measures the digitizationof businesses and their exploitation of the online sales channel.
- Digital Public Services – measures the digitizationof public services, focusing on eGovernment.
The DESI 2016 summaries data collected mostly during calendar year 2015, which are at the basis of the main DESI ranking of EU member states. Each score in the DESI is between 0 and 1, with higher values representing better performance. The DESI 2016 shows that both the European Union as a whole as well as individual Member States are progressing towards a digital economy and society. However, member states are at different levels of development and are progressing at different speeds.
To calculate a country’s overall score, each set and subset of indicators were given a specific weighting by European Commission experts.
- According to the report, overall, Europe is progressing. The EU as a whole attained a score of 0.52 in 2016, up from 0.50 last year. Improvement was mostly driven by the Connectivity and Integration of Digital Technology dimensions, the two fastest growing dimensions in the index. Developments in Digital Public Services and Human Capital have all but stagnated this year.
- As you can see from the graph below, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden registers the highest scores across all 5 indicators, while Greece, Bulgaria and Romania are placed on the last 3 positions due to insufficient investments in infrastructure, too small a progress in digitizing the public sectors or not enough digital skills amongst their citizens.
- Running ahead countries are those that score above the EU average and whose score grew faster than that of the EU over the last year. These are countries that perform well and that have been developing at a pace that allows them to further distance themselves from the EU average.
Countries in this cluster: Austria, Germany, Estonia, Malta, the Netherlands and Portugal.
- Lagging ahead countries are those that score above the EU average but whose score grew slower than that of the EU over the last year. These countries perform well, but their development is now very slow and, as such, they are lagging in comparison to the progress of the EU as a whole. Countries in this cluster: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
- Catching up countries are those that score below the EU average but whose score grew faster than that of the EU over the last year. These countries are developing faster than the EU as a whole and are thus catching up with the EU average. Countries in this cluster: Spain, Croatia, Italy, Latvia, Romania and Slovenia
**The DESI aims to help EU countries identify areas requiring priority investments and action, in order to create a truly Digital Single Market – one of the top priorities of the Commission. Building on the DESI findings and in parallel to the European Semester, in May 2016, the Commission’s Digital Progress Report will give an in-depth assessment of how the EU and Member States are progressing in their digital development and will recommend potential steps to help improve national digital performance.
Article drafted by Mihai Bogdan Mocanu, intern @ Institute for Digital Government. Mihai is a recent graduate of an MA in Diplomacy and Negotiation (SNSPA Bucharest) and a passionate about photography. He has competencies in the realm of institutional communication, having completed internships with the UK Embassy in Romania, the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as other volunteering projects.