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Assessing Digital Performances of European Member States

The Digital Economy and Society Index: Italy’s performance

Assessing Digital Performances of European Member States

Claudia Astarita

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A couple of weeks ago, the European Commission released the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI). This tool highlighted all the progresses made by the European Union (EU) member states in the digital sector. In fact, last year, the Commission adopted the Strategy for a Digital Single Market stressing the need for further national digitalization both in the public and private sector.

DESI uses 6 main indicators to assess a country's performance in the field of digitalization. Namely, they are: Connectivity (the presence of broad band), Human Capital (in terms of endowment and empowerment), Use of Internet (mostly concerning transactions, news, shopping), Integration of Digital Technology (in terms of eBusiness and eCommerce), Digital Public Services and Research and Development.

Italian performance was not outstanding. Nevertheless, some major changes have happened compared to last year. In particular, Italians can be proud of their results in Digital Public Services. The availability of online public services has much increased, giving more room for a virtual space where the citizen can interact with his authorities. Also with regard to Integration of Digital Technology Italy is doing well, increasing the volume of eCommerce sales, which are gaining importance within the national economic panorama. The other fields all need a further effort for the Bel Paese in order to succeed in the "digital mission".

As pointed out by Andrus Ansip - EU Commission Vice-President and Person in Charge for the Digital Single Market - there are still a number of obstacles that impede a full digitalization in member states. Most of them concern the absence of a fast broad band in certain areas, along with difficulties in buying from abroad. This is what the Strategy aims to, i.e. removing the obstacles to a fully functioning digital integrated market.

In spite of the hardships and the slow progress, authorities are confident about future achievements.

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