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EU study on digitization in Europe

The EU has commissioned a major study on digitization in Europe. The results are now available. The study examined the degree of digitization in various European countries in several categories. Germany landed in the middle of the pack.

Four assessment categories

The study examined the degree of digitization of government services in all EU countries as well as in Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Albania, Montenegro, northern Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey. The focus was not on digitization as an end in itself, but on its usefulness for the residents of the respective countries. These were also the ones who carried out the test. They were asked to attempt to carry out administrative steps prescribed by the authorities in connection with life events in various areas (such as starting a business, going to school, health care or moving house) online. To do this, they visited a total of around 14,000 government websites in the 35 countries studied.

The quality of the digital services was assessed in four categories: User-centeredness, transparency of services and their handling of data, existence of key enablers that can be used for verification such as eID, electronic documents or ePost, and cross-border services. The countries tested were evaluated in percentages.

Malta leads the way

Malte achieved the highest value and thus the best possibilities for handling official matters securely digitally. The percentage value determined here was 96. Estonia followed in second place with 90 percent. Luxembourg, Iceland, the Netherlands, Denmark and Lithuania came third to seventh. Overall, despite Malta’s top position, there was a north-south and a west-east divide. The northern and western European countries are much more likely to enable digital handling of public authority matters and are more barrier-free, more likely to offer cross-border services and more committed to transparency. The bottom three were Romania with 42 percent, Montenegro with 38 percent and northern Macedonia with 35 percent. Germany landed in 21st place with a percentage score of 61, putting it in the middle of the pack. The frequently heard criticism that Germany is lagging years behind in digitization does not seem justified.

The study also showed that a large proportion of all government services in the EU are available online, a total of 81 percent. 92 percent of the available websites also work on mobile devices. Data transparency, on the other hand, was rated as problematic: only 58 percent of the services explain what personal data is collected and processed. Another criticism was that the vast majority of services cannot be used from other countries. Two-thirds of government services can be used with an eID, but in around 50 percent of cases only the eID of the user’s own country is accepted.

EU study names three challenges

Finally, three challenges are named that are understood as central. Digital offerings are to be changed in such a way that they are also available to users with low digital skills or other limitations; portals oriented to life events and bundling the services of different authorities are to be created; and interoperability between different authorities and levels of government is to be improved through better data exchange and the creation of an electronic identity.

While the first two steps are indeed likely to be in the interest of users, the plans for a unified digital identity are drawing criticism. The fundamental rights organizations EDRi and Epicenter Works, for example, have pointed out that a unique electronic identity would allow all activities requiring legitimation to be tracked by a central authority – which would lead to unforeseeable disciplinary possibilities on the part of the state. Furthermore, it is criticized that the EU plans for electronic identity could play into the hands of companies that could use it to obtain state-verified identity data and merge it with their previously collected data – which in turn creates expanded possibilities for manipulation.

Simon Lüthje

I am co-founder of this blog and am very interested in everything that has to do with technology, but I also like to play games. I was born in Hamburg, but now I live in Bad Segeberg.

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The EU has commissioned a major study on digitization in Europe. The results are now available. The study examined the degree of digitization in various European countries in several categories. Germany landed in the middle of the pack. Four assessment categories The study examined the degree of digitization of government services in all EU countries … (Weiterlesen...)

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