eEurope Benchmarking Report: 23 IT indicators at a glance
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The eEurope Benchmarking Report is the first global benchmarking effort measuring progress of Europe towards the most dynamic knowledge-based economy it aims to be.
The Report was finished by the European Commission, on 7 February 2002, and it can be considered the main evaluation exercise of the goals set in the Lisbon European Council in March 2000, when the EU adopted the ambitious eEurope Action Plan.
Through analysis of the evolution of 23 indicators, the eEurope Benchmarking Report shows how the eEconomy is emerging in Europe. But the process is often considered too slow, and the disparities between countries are considerable, even excessive. So although the eEconomy is growing in Europe and global trends are all positive, there are also emerging problems to be faced.
The Report points out several conclusions:
- Internet penetration in EU may settle below the US level, so it seems necessary to give more policy attention to alternative platforms such as mobile communications devices and digital TV.
- eCommerce faces particular difficulties. It is growing, but much more slowly than expected, and seems to be mainly taken by well-established companies.
- Broadband has started slowly and choice is mostly limited to 2 platforms.
- Digital divide: many Member States are too far behind leading EU Member States in Internet penetration and use. Differences reflect a North-South divide, and more efforts are needed to close the gap.
- Substantial progress has been made in giving schools Internet connections. However, efficient usage in schools is still at the beginning.
- Results show growing security concerns. The creation of a cyber security task force should be rapidly implemented.
- More and more people use computers in their job, but many of them without being formally trained. Training needs are to be expanded, and Workers should acquire digital skills.
- Socially disadvantaged people are still lagging behind in computer access and training. Promoting eInclusion remains a priority.
- On-line public services should be developed, and that means identification of the needs for these services at pan-European level, back-office reorganisations, the creation of electronic marketplaces for public procurement and investment in new equipment.
Candidate countries will have become members of the EU by 2010. If the enlarged EU is to reach its Lisbon objective, the Candidate Countries need to be fully integrated into the process.