Denmark, Finland and Sweden are the EU’s most digital countries

Bar chart showing the degree of digitisation in EU member states in 2021 with three Nordic countries at the top
Once again, the Nordic EU countries take top positions in the annual EU digital index. Denmark, Finland and Sweden are the three most-digital EU countries. Norway is number five.
 | 23 November 2021

Every year, the European Commission tracks the EU countries' progress towards digital economy and society. Based on the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), each country is assessed on four dimensions:

  • Human capital, including citizens’ digital skills and the proportion of ICT specialists among professionals.
  • Connectivity, dealing with access to and use of broadband.
  • Integration of digital technology by businesses, including e-commerce, cloud services, Big Data, etc.
  • Digital public services, dealing with eGovernment services, e-prescriptions, Big Data, and AI.

This year, all member states have made digital progress. Still, the gap between the top countries and those with the lowest scores remains large, reports the Commission.

Denmark first – up from third

Having strengthened its position in all areas of the DESI, Denmark climbs from third to first place in the index, followed by Finland and Sweden, both falling one position. In fourth place is the Netherlands.

As a non-EU country, Norway is not included in the ranking; however, monitored by the DESI indicators, the results would have placed the country fifth in the overall index, if included. Last year, Norway scored equal to the third position.

Nordics lead in three of four areas

The Nordic EU countries also top three of four areas: Finland is best in the EU in terms of human capital and integration of digital technology by businesses, while Denmark ranks first in connectivity, which deals with broadband supply and coverage.

In addition, the Nordic countries are among the top five in all categories, with Finland's 13th place in connectivity as the only exception (see the figure below).

Figure. DESI Index 2021: The Nordic EU members rank among EU27
Figur. DESI Index 2021: De nordiska EU-medlemmarnas rankning bland 27 EU-länder
Source: DESI Index 2021 (European Commission).

Strategies for recovery and resilience

The DESI results are reported in both thematic chapters, providing analysis on the EU level, and in country profiles with detailed results for the 33 indicators included in the index. The country reports also describe national digital policies and strategies, this year including, for example, plans following the EU initiative on recovery (after the Covid-19 crisis) and resilience.

Eva Harrie

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