Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden make the best use of digital but Romania, Bulgaria and Greece are falling behind, according to the European Commission.
EU countries are improving broadband access, Internet use, digital skills and digital public services — albeit slowly — according to the Commission’s latest digital economy and society index report.
“The EU makes progress, but too slowly. There is no room for complacency,” said Günther Oettinger, the commissioner for digital economy, in a statement. “Action is needed if we want to catch up with Japan, the U.S.A. and South Korea.”
According to the report, 71 percent of homes in the EU now have access to broadband speeds of at least 30 mbps, up 9 percent since the previous year.
Austria, Estonia, Germany, Malta, the Netherlands and Portugal scored above the EU average on the index and those countries’ scores also improved faster than average. Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Lithuania, Sweden and the U.K. also scored higher than the EU average overall, but their scores grew more slowly.
At the other end of the scale, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, France, Greece, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia scored below the EU average and had slower development, while Croatia, Italy, Latvia, Romania, Slovenia and Spain scored below the average but with faster digital growth.
The scores are based on EU countries’ performance on five policy areas: How widespread, fast and affordable broadband is, their population’s digital skills, Internet use, how businesses integrate digital technologies, and prevalence of digital public services such as e-government and e-health.
In May the Commission will announce recommendations for EU countries to improve their national performances, Oettinger added.
The Commission will release a follow-up report in March comparing the EU’s digital economy and society with other countries.
Preliminary results show European countries lead the way in the adoption of digital technologies by businesses, compared to Japan and South Korea. But South Korea is the world leader in Internet connectivity, followed by Japan, Denmark, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.