EU Digital Single Market and Digital Economy Unit
The role of the Digital Single Market Unit and Digital Economy Unit in the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) is to:
- Ensure a whole of government approach and cross government coordination of the DSM agenda;
- lead the Inter-Departmental Committee on the Digital Single Market, which is Chaired by the Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Mr Pat Breen TD;
- play a leading role in the development of the new National Digital Strategy by furthering proposals on how to develop the optimal digital ecosystem for SMEs and increasing Ireland’s digital competitiveness;
- represent Ireland on the MS Group assisting the European Commission in developing, progressing and actioning an EU Coordinated Plan for Artificial Intelligence and preparing Member State Digitizing European Industry Country Reports;
- develop stronger networks with other like-minded Member States, particularly the Digital 9+ countries (D9+), i.e. the top-ranked European countries in the European Commission annual Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI);
- support joint initiatives by the Taoiseach and relevant Ministers;
- liaise closely with the Minister of State with responsibility for e-Government;
- strengthen engagement with the European Commission, the European Parliament, the OECD and Irish stakeholders on the digital transformation agenda; and
- provide progress reports to the Cabinet Committee on European Affairs and other Cabinet Committees, as appropriate.
Inter-Departmental Committee on the DSM
The key focus of the IDC is on ensuring effective whole-of-Government engagement with the EU DSM Strategy, particularly in terms of developing a coherent and coordinated approach to matters that cut across the responsibilities of individual Ministers, Departments and European Council formations. Relevant Ministers and Departments will continue to lead on the key files in their respective areas of responsibility. However, there is also acknowledgement that many of the files have cross-cutting implications.
The IDC on DSM includes representatives from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI), IDA Ireland and the following other Government Departments:
Representatives from the Departments concerned attend the IDC meetings to update Minister Breen on the latest developments relating to ongoing work on the digital agenda every two months.
The E-Commerce Act 2000 is dealt with by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.
Digital Single Market Bulletin
The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation produces a Digital Single Market Bulletin which provides regular updates on key developments in relation to the digital transformation agenda in Ireland.
National Digital Strategy
Future Jobs Ireland 2019 includes a commitment to the completion of a framework for the development of a new National Digital Strategy (NDS) to provide a coherent view across sectoral policies to position Ireland to maximise economic and societal benefits from digitalisation and to ensure that all are in a position to enjoy those benefits. The effects of the digital transformation are expected to be far reaching and it will be important to ensure that no section of society gets left behind.
The scope of the NDS will be a high-level document providing an overarching long-term vision of the impacts of digitalisation on Ireland. It will take into account the many policy initiatives already in place or under development, to provide a structure and set of principles to give shape to Ireland’s digital transformation. It will map the connections between digital strategies, identify where there are policy gaps, which might lead to the creation of digital divides within society, and ensure that these are filled. Several Government Departments, led by the Department of the Taoiseach, are involved in the development of this Strategy. These Departments have undertaken consultations with stakeholders, initially to develop the framework for the NDS which has since been accepted by Government and subsequently to inform the content of the Strategy itself.
Ongoing initiatives relevant to the NDS include work on the digital transformation of business with a focus on SMEs and a study on Digital Skills.
Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI)
The Irish performance (and that of the other EU Member States) against the DSM initiatives set out in the Strategy is measured within the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI). The 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 DESI index 2019 shows that Ireland is ranked as the 7th most advanced digital economy in the EU. This ranking is based on a new methodology where the DESI was re-calculated for all countries for previous years to reflect changes in the choice of indicators and corrections to the underlying data. This means that country scores and rankings have changed compared with previous publications.
Ireland’s overall score increased from 2018 to 2019 due to an improved performance in all DESI dimensions measured. Ireland improved or maintained our performance in 33 indicators within the Index and were above the EU average in 28 of these. Ireland is number one in the Integration of Digital Technology by Businesses category in the DESI 2019. Overall Ireland’s performance has steadily grown on the DESI since its inception in 2014.