Ireland ranked sixth in the European Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) ranking, which measures the performance of the 28 European Union countries in the use of digital technologies. The country had a score of 61.8 – above the European average, which is 52.6. In the past five years, Ireland has been the fastest growing country in the ranking across the continent.
The index takes into account criteria such as: quality of mobile internet and broadband services; Internet use by citizens and businesses; use of e-commerce technologies and digital payments; and access to public services over the internet.
Ireland had the best performance among all countries in terms of “digital integration”, being a leader in the use of e-commerce by small and medium companies. The government is also one of the most digital in the EU, offering digital access to public services and showing transparency in data. Despite this, the country still needs to improve the digital literacy level of the population, as there is a lack of qualified professionals in the area of technology.
The ranking leaders are Finland (1), Sweden (2), Denmark (3), Holland (4) and Malta (5). Ireland was ahead of Estonia (7), which is known as one of the most digital countries in Europe, where 99% of the population has digital identification and a third of all votes in the elections are cast online.
More than ever, digital technologies are essential for the functioning of society. According to Margrethe Vestager, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for digital development, “the coronavirus crisis has shown how crucial it is for citizens and businesses to be connected and to be able to interact with each other online”. Europe’s post-pandemic recovery plan includes major investments in the areas of government digitization and improvements in Internet access for the population.
The full study can be accessed here.