Measuring digital progress in the EU

Did you realise that over 6.5 million Europeans only went online for the first time in the last year? And did you know that 60 million Europeans have still never used the internet? Or, indeed, that 45 per cent of Europeans still do not have enough digital skills? 

Since the launch of the Digital Single Market strategy in May 2015, the EU has been keen to follow digital progress made so far by EU Member States and citizens in order to have a systematic overview.
Just recently, on 25 February 2016, the European Commission organised The Digital4EU Stakeholder Forum in Brussels, focusing on the progress made in creating a Digital Single Market in Europe. This year's edition included five focus areas, from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), to digital economy indicators, data and computing opportunities for Europe, innovation from start-ups and high-growth businesses, and the social and economic role played by platforms. 
During the forum, the 2016 edition of the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) was published and discussed as being the main analytical tool providing evidential input for the assessment of digital development in the EU. DESI is an online tool to measure the progress of EU Member States towards a digital economy and society, bringing together a set of relevant indicators on Europe's current digital policy mix. Being aware of how Europe is performing has been a key concern for the European Commission: according to DESI, 67 per cent of Europeans now go online every day, as high-speed connection has been increasing exponentially since 2011 and mobile broadband has become a reality for 86 per cent of European homes covered by 4G.
DESI provides multiple indicators from an overall index on various dimensions (connectivity, human capital, use of the internet, integration of digital technology and digital public services) and sub-dimensions (focusing from basic digital skills up to social media or online games use). The DESI online tool is quite flexible in terms of combining and comparing its indicators for countries, accessing a wide age range (in sub groups from 16 to 74), creating graphs and downloading data. 
Children and youth need to be prepared in order to become well-equipped digital citizens in the digital society. Therefore, being aware of the current data and indicators published by the EU and seeing changes over recent years, can be useful for analysing and anticipating the missing gaps for digital users, while further boosting the digital progress. 
A visual summary of DESI is available in this video. For further information on how the EU is measuring its digital progress, you can also access the European Commission Digital Scoreboard

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