Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) 2021
Since 2014, the European Commission has been monitoring Member States’ digital progress through the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) reports. Each year, DESI includes country profiles which support Member States in identifying areas requiring priority action as well as thematic chapters offering a European-level analysis across key digital areas, essential for underpinning policy decisions. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the EU’s economy and on EU society. It has significantly changed the role and perception of digitalisation in our economies and societies, and accelerated its pace. It has also shown the decisive role that disruptive innovation and technology can play. As stated in the 2020 DESI reports, it has intensified the use of public and private online services, putting pressure on the capacity of digital connectivity networks. The European Commission has been coordinating a common two-pronged response to COVID-191. The first part of its response is a health emergency response based on an EU Health Union, a vaccination strategy and a common approach to making it safe to travel again. The second part of its response consists of addressing the immediate and the long-term economic effects of the pandemic. Alongside Member States’ short-term efforts to cushion their economies, the Commission has adjusted a number of EU programmes to provide liquidity support for companies and adopted temporary State aid measures allowing Member States to give severely affected companies further support. But to build a more sustainable, resilient and fairer Europe for future generations, massive investments and structural reforms will be needed in the medium to long term. To this end, the EU adopted a European Recovery Plan in December 2020, the Next Generation EU. The package aims to support Member States in their efforts to address the fallout from the pandemic, kick-start the EU economy and put it on a greener, more digital and more resilient path. The centrepiece of the Next Generation EU is the Recovery and Resilience Facility.