18th May 2018
Mr Pat Breen TD, Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection today (18 May) welcomed the announcement from the European Commission that Ireland has moved up three places – to 6th from 9th – in the EU Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) report for 2018 compared to 2017. This reflects improvements in: basic and advanced digital skills; online transactions; and Irish people’s use of internet services.
The publication of the Report comes in the week Minister Breen hosted a Ministerial meeting of the EU Digital 9+ (D9+) front-runner countries under the theme of Artificial Intelligence. The D9+ group is a loose affiliation of like-minded Member States on Digital Single Market issues, comprising the nine top-ranked European countries in the DESI, plus two other countries who share similar ambitions for the Digital Single Market.
Ireland is a digital frontrunner because of its prominent ranking in the DESI Index and has made continuous improvements in these rankings since 2014, having moved from 10th to 6th. Ireland is top of the rankings for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) graduates, Small and medium Enterprises (SMEs) Selling Online, eCommerce Turnover, SMEs Online Cross-border and Open Data
Welcoming Ireland’s improvement in ranking in the DESI Report Minister Breen said, [for approval] “I’m very pleased to be able to announce that Ireland has moved up three places on the DESI, the EU’s mechanism for tracking the progress made by Member States in terms of their digitisation. The Report clearly confirms our standing as one of the front-runner EU countries in the digital agenda.”
Minister Breen chairs an Inter-Departmental Committee on the Digital Single Market (DSM) which aims at ensuring a whole of government approach and cross-Government coordination of the Digital Single Market agenda. The Committee brings together representatives from Government Departments that have a digital remit and whose work contributes to Ireland’s improved standing within the DESI Report.
Minister Breen said, “The DESI Report for 2018 shows that Ireland improved our performance in 22 of the 30 comparable indicators within the Index and indicates that we are on the right track in adopting and implementing the initiatives necessary to digitise our economy even further. Nevertheless, we remain focused on maximising the potential of our economy, and want to further enhance our performance across several areas. The aim is to develop the optimal digital ecosystem for SMEs and increase Ireland’s digital competitiveness.”
The Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) is a composite index that summarises five relevant indicators (Connectivity, Human Capital / Digital skills, Use of Internet by citizens, Integration of Digital Technology by businesses, Digital Public Services) on Europe’s digital performance and tracks the evolution of EU member states in digital competitiveness.
The 2018 DESI index shows that Ireland is ranked as the 6th most advanced digital economy in the EU – the top five countries are; Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Netherlands and Luxembourg. Ireland ranks very highly when it comes to the integration of digital technologies by businesses, mostly because many SMEs embraced e-commerce. Internet users increasingly take advantage of high-speed infrastructures and also make good use of online public services.
Ireland is ranked first in Europe in 5 of 34 indicators, namely:
- STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) graduates
- SMEs Selling Online
- eCommerce Turnover
- SMEs Online Cross-border
- Open Data
The Digital 9+ Countries (D9+) group is a loose affiliation of like-minded Member States on Single Market issues, comprising the nine top-ranked European countries in the European Commission annual Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), plus two other countries who share similar ambitions for the Digital Single Market. The countries involved are Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium, UK, Ireland and Estonia, who are joined in the group by the Czech Republic and Poland.
The Interdepartmental Committee on the Digital Single Market is chaired by Pat Breen, Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection. The Committee includes representatives from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) and the following other Government Departments / Offices:
- Department of the Taoiseach;
- Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment;
- Department of Justice and Equality;
- Department of Finance;
- Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade;
- Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; and
- IDA Ireland.
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