Estonia ranks 1st place in the EU on Digital public services according to DESI index

November 15, 2021

The Commission published the results of the 2021 Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), which tracks the progress made in EU Member States in digital competitiveness in the areas of human capital, broadband connectivity, the integration of digital technologies by businesses and digital public services.

The DESI 2021 reports present data from the first or second quarter of 2020 for the most part, providing some insight into key developments in the digital economy and society during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the effect of COVID-19 on the use and supply of digital services and the results of policies implemented since then are not captured in the data, and will be more visible in the 2022 edition.

All EU Member States have made progress in the area of digitalisation, but the overall picture across Member States is mixed, and despite some convergence, the gap between the EU’s frontrunners and those with the lowest DESI scores remains large. Despite these improvements, all Member States will need to make concerted efforts to meet the 2030 targets as set out in Europe’s Digital Decade.

Executive Vice-President for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age, Margrethe Vestager, said: “The message of this year’s Index is positive, all EU countries made some progress in getting more digital and more competitive, but more can be done. So we are working with Member States to ensure that key investments are made via the Recovery and Resilience Facility to bring the best of digital opportunities to all citizens and businesses.”

Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, added: “Setting ourselves 2030 targets was an important step, but now we need to deliver. Today’s DESI shows progress, but also where we need to get better collectively to ensure that European citizens and businesses, in particular SMEs, can access and use cutting-edge technologies that will make their lives better, safer and greener.”

The 2021 DESI has been adjusted to reflect major policy initiatives including the 2030 Digital Compass: the European Way for the Digital Decade, which sets out Europe’s ambition as regards digital and lays out a vision for the digital transformation and concrete targets for 2030 in the four cardinal points: skills, infrastructures, digital transformation of businesses and public services.

The Path to the Digital Decade, a policy programme presented in September 2021, sets out a novel form of governance with Member States, through a mechanism of annual cooperation between EU institutions and the Member States to ensure they jointly achieve ambitions. ‘The Path to Digital Decade’ assigns the monitoring of the Digital Decade targets to the DESI and because of this, DESI indicators are now structured around the four cardinal points of the Digital Compass.

As part of the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) the EU Member States have committed to spend at least 20% of their national endowments from the Recovery and Resilience Plan on digital and so far, Member States are meeting or largely exceeding this target. The DESI country reports incorporate a summary overview of the digital investments and reforms in the Recovery and Resilience Plans for the 22 plans that have already been adopted by the Council.

The annual Digital Economy and Society Index measures the progress of EU Member States towards a digital economy and society, on the basis of both Eurostat data and specialised studies and collection methods. It helps EU Member States to identify priority areas requiring targeted investment and action. The DESI is also the key tool when it comes to analysing digital aspects in the European Semester. With a budget of €723.8 billion, the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), adopted in February 2021, is the largest programme under Next Generation EU.

European Commission 12.11.2021