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Romania ranks 27th out of the 28 EU member states according to the Economy and Digital Society Index

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Over the past year, all EU countries improved their digital performance. Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Denmark scored the highest ratings in DESI 2019 and are among the global leaders in digitalisation. These countries are followed by the United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Ireland, Estonia, and Belgium. Some other countries however still have a long way to go, and the EU as a whole needs improvement to be able to compete on the global stage.

According to Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), published Tuesday, 11 June, Romania ranks 27th out of the 28 EU Member States in the European Commission's 2019. The index monitors Europe's global digital performance and tracks the progress made by EU countries in terms of digital competitiveness.

Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip, said: “In late 2014, when we began drawing up a plan for the Digital Single Market we wanted to build a long-term strategy to stimulate Europe's digital environment, minimise legal uncertainty and create fair conditions for everyone. Now that the EU has agreed on 28 out of 30 legislative proposals, creating 35 new digital rights and freedoms, the successful implementation of the Digital Single Market can significantly contribute to further improving country results. It is urgent to implement new rules to boost connectivity, data economy and digital public services as well as help Member States to equip citizens with digital skills that are adapted to the modern labour market”.

Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Gabriel, added: “This year's Digital Economy and Society Index demonstrates that the speed of digital transformation must accelerate for the EU to stay competitive at world level.  In order to succeed, we have to continue to work together for an inclusive digital economy and ensure unimpeded access to digital skills for all EU citizens in order to truly thrive and build a more digital Europe.

DESI figures over the last 5 years show that targeted investment and robust digital policies can have a significant impact on the performance of individual countries. For example, this is the case for Spain, in the deployment of ultrafast broadband, Cyprus in broadband connectivity, Ireland for digitizing businesses and Latvia and Lithuania in digital public services.  

DESI indicators also show that the demand for fast and ultrafast broadband is on the rise, and is expected to further increase in the years in view of the growing sophistication of internet services and business needs. Ultrafast connectivity of at least 100 Mbps is available to 60% of households, and the number of broadband subscriptions is increasing. 20% of homes use ultrafast broadband, a number that is four times higher than in 2014.

The EU has agreed on the reform of the EU telecoms rules to meet Europeans' growing connectivity needs and to boost investments. Sweden and Portugal have the highest take-up of ultrafast broadband, and Finland and Italy are the most advanced on the assignment of the 5G spectrum.

More than one third of Europeans in the active labour force do not have basic digital skills, even though most jobs require at least basic digital skills, and only 31% possess advanced internet user skills. At the same time, there is an increased demand for advanced digital skills across the economy, with employment of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) specialists growing by 2 million over the last 5 years in the EU. Finland, Sweden, Luxembourg and Estonia are the leaders in this dimension of the index.



83% of Europeans surf the internet at least once per week (up from 75% in 2014). On the other hand, a mere 11% of the EU population have never been online (down from 18% in 2014).

The use of video calls and video on demand, available on various computer programmes and smartphone applications, increased most. To better protect users' trust in the online environment, EU rules on data protection entered into force on 25 May 2018.  

Businesses are becoming more digital, but e-commerce is growing slowly. Overall, the top EU performers in this domain are Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark, while Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Poland need to catch up.

An increasing number of companies use cloud services (18% compared to 11% in 2014) and social media to engage with their customers and other stakeholders (21% compared to 15% in 2013).

However, the number of SMEs who sell their goods and services online has stagnated over the past few years at 17%.

In order to boost e-commerce in the EU, the EU has agreed on a series of measures from more transparent parcel delivery prices to simpler VAT and digital contract rules. Since 3 December 2018, consumers and companies are able to find the best online deals throughout the EU without experiencing discrimination based on their nationality or place of residence.

In the digital public services, where EU regulation is in place, there is a convergence trend among Member States for the period 2014-2019.

64% of internet users who submit forms to their public administration now use online channels (up from 57% in 2014), showing the convenience of online procedures over bureaucracy.

In April 2018, the Commission adopted initiatives on the re-use of public sector information and on e-health, which will significantly improve cross-border online public services in the EU.

With regards to the use of digital public services, including e-health and e-government, Finland and Estonia registered the highest scores in the index.
Background

The annual Digital Economy and Society Index measures the progress of EU Member States towards a digital economy and society, mainly on the basis of Eurostat data. It helps EU Member States identify areas requiring priority investment and action. The DESI is also the key tool when it comes to analysing digital aspects in the European Semester.

The DESI includes a detailed analysis of national digital policies, providing an overview of progress and policy implementation by Member States. A more detailed Telecoms Chapter for each Member State is annexed to the reports. To make better comparisons between EU countries, the DESI also develops cross-border analyses in connectivity, skills, use of internet services, take-up of digital technology by businesses, digital public services, ICT research and development and innovation investment, and the use of Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme funds by Member States.

During the Juncker Commission's mandate, the EU had agreed on 28 out of 30 legislative proposals aimed at bringing barriers down and creating a Digital Single Market for the benefit of all European citizens and businesses. To reinforce ongoing investments in essential infrastructures and skills, the Commission made targeted budget proposals for 2021-2027 that now need to be approved by EU Member States and the European Parliament.

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