Denmark Is the EU’s Digital Champion in New Survey


On 12 November, the European Commission released the results of the annual Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), which measures levels of digitalisation in the EU. Denmark has moved to first place in 2021’s DESI report, up from third place in 2020.

Every year, the European Commission releases the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), which measures the level of digitalisation in European Union member states according to four benchmark categories. The four benchmark categories comprise indicators within human capital, connectivity, integration of digital technology, and digital public services, all of which give an overview of EU efforts in digitalisation.

Since the first DESI report in 2016, Denmark has consistently placed above the EU average, and 2021 is no different, with Denmark reaching the top of the index.

The EU Country with Most Citizens Using Digital Public Services

Reaching the top of the DESI means that Denmark has placed well on the individual indicators within the index as well. Thus, Denmark has placed first in connectivity, second in integration of digital technologies and in digital public services, and fourth in human capital.

In digital public services, Denmark has a score of 87.1, which is 19 points above the EU average of 68.1. Indeed, the DESI report highlights Denmark’s high use of digital public services (eGovernment). In Denmark, 92 percent of internet users have used digital public services within the last year, meaning that Denmark is the member state where most inhabitants make use of digital public services.

The high use of digital public services is also reflected in the fact that Denmark scores significantly higher than the EU average when it comes to digital skills. In Denmark, 70 percent of the population have basic digital skills, compared to the EU average of 56 percent.

Denmark also stands out in the report through a wealth of digital initiatives, many of which have supported the management of the Covid-19 pandemic. One example is the principle of digital-ready legislation which enabled swift implementation of initiatives during the pandemic. In autumn 2020, the principle enabled the automatic payment of government stimulus cheques to two million inhabitants in less than 8 days.

Furthermore, the DESI report mentions the swift switch to e-learning when pupils and students in Denmark were sent home, as well as the 2020 reform of the employment system, which allocated funds to the digital upskilling of the labour force.

Overall, Denmark is—according to the DESI report—the leader of digitalisation in the EU. The report suggests that one of the preconditions for this achievement is Denmark’s successive comprehensive strategies for digital government across national, regional, and municipal government, as well as the Danish Government Digitalisation Partnership, which started in March 2021. These comprehensive approaches to digitalisation will be valuable tools in Denmark remaining a digital frontrunner.

Read the DESI report from 2021 by the European Commission

Denmark Places Third in eGovernment Benchmark

In addition to placing first in the DESI, Denmark also moved up in the annual eGovernment Benchmark to third place. Like the DESI, the eGovernment Benchmark is a report released by the European Commission measuring the progress of public digitalisation in 36 countries in Europe. The benchmarks places countries in four categories, and Denmark places in the best category where digitalisation of the public sector creates results and adds value (‘fruitful eGovernment’) together with nine other countries.

Read the eGovernment Benchmark from the European Commission