How is digitalization progressing in EU and Czechia? Where are we lagging behind the EU average and where are we ahead?


The Commission has published the first report on the Digital Decade, including digital skills and digitalisation of businesses.

The European Commission published the first report on the implementation of the Digital Decade programme. The report describes the progress made so far in achieving digital transformation in Europe and assesses the degree of fulfillment of the targets in four main areas: digital skills, digital infrastructure, digitalization of businesses and digitalization of public services. It calls on the Member States to continue solving problem areas, to accelerate the digitalization of Europe and to make efforts towards achieving the set targets by 2030.

The report focuses on the overall evaluation within the EU, but also on the specific situation and recommendations for each of the Member States. The recommendations contained in the report will be the basis for further discussion and cooperation between the Commission and the Member States, including cooperation within the framework of large-scale multi-country projects.

Progress in digital skills

The goal of the Digital Decade is to reach the threshold of 80% of EU citizens (aged 16-74) having at least basic digital skills and to reach the number of at least 20 million IT specialists in Europe by 2030.

Current trends show that unless there is a fundamental change in the approach to digital skills, Europe will only reach the threshold of 59% of citizens with basic digital skills in 2030 (currently the percentage is 54%). As for IT specialists, there were just over 9 million in 2022, and if their training is not accelerated, there will only be around 12 million in Europe in 2030. This target is also related to gender equality – in 2022 there was only 19% representation of women in this field.

Member States are therefore encouraged to prioritize investment in quality digital education from an early age, including supporting girls in STEM fields, and to support training and courses to develop digital skills for all, regardless of age. The EU supports the member states, for example, with initiatives within the Digital Education Action Plan 2021–2027 or the launch of the Cyber Skills Academy. There is also financial support from programmes such as structural funds, Digital Europe, Horizont Europe and Erasmus+.

Progress in business digitalization

In the field of digitalization of businesses, the Digital Decade aims to break the threshold of 90% of small and medium-sized enterprises that will achieve at least a basic level of digitalization (using digital technologies such as online commerce or use of social networks) and also 75% of SMEs that will use tools such as is artificial intelligence (AI), cloud or big data.

In 2022, only 69% of European SMEs have reached a basic level of digitalization and only 8% have used AI. If there is no acceleration of development in this area as well, the current trends imply that in 2030 only 66% of enterprises will use cloud services, 34% big data and 20% AI. Member States should therefore raise awareness of the possibilities and benefits of digitalization and, in cooperation with the Commission, also support the European Digital Innovation Hubs, which offer tailor-made, individualized support to businesses in their digitalization processes.

At the EU level, one of the main tools for supporting businesses is the Digital Europe programme, which foresees up to 7.5 billion euros for projects in this area. At the same time, 19% of the amount under the Recovery and Resilience Facility intended for digital transformation is reserved specifically for supporting the digitalization of businesses. An important factor in the field of innovation, new products and services are also start-ups referred to as "unicorns", which the Commission monitors as an indicator of progress and whose number in Europe it would like to double by 2030.

Other key findings of the report

In addition to the above, the report also addresses other topics. Among them are international partnerships for the purpose of promoting digitalization and supporting European values (e.g. in connection with the agreements between the EU and Japan or EU and Singapore) or support for digital infrastructure and ensuring secure connection and support for 5G networks. Not only through the European Chips Act, the EU wants to support the production of semiconductors so that Europe participates in 20% of world production. Last but not least, the report addresses the areas of digitalization of public services, sustainability in the field of digitalization, and the values and principles of online society.

And how is Czechia doing?

Digital decade CZ

In addition to the evaluation at the European level, the report also looks at each of the member states and lists the achievements and recommendations in individual areas. In the introduction, the report speaks of Czechia as a country with untapped digital potential in terms of further contribution to achieving the goals of the Digital Decade. The Commission highlights the participation of Czechia in several of the multi-country projects, its ambition to become a key player in the field of high-tech technologies such as quantum and microchips, as well as the emphasis on supporting basic and advanced digital skills. On the other hand, the report states that there is a need for more support for the digitalization of businesses, the hiring of IT specialists and the development of high-capacity networks, especially in rural areas.

In Czechia, 60% of the population currently has at least basic digital skills, so here we are above the current European average (54%). However, IT specialists make up only 4.5% of the total workforce (and only 11% of them are women), which is, on the contrary, below the European average – in the case of women in the IT field, this is the lowest percentage in the entire EU. Czechia should therefore continue to support the acquisition of digital skills (including support for reskilling and upskilling), especially speed up the training of IT specialists and also focus on the area of cyber security.

In 2022, 68% of SMEs in the Czech Republic had at least a basic level of digitalization, which is almost the same percentage as the European average (69%), but in individual indicators such as the use of AI, the cloud and big data, Czechia is significantly below the average. For example, in 2020 only 9% of SMEs used big data (EU average 14%), and in 2021 only 40% of businesses used cloud services and only 5% used AI. On the other hand, the report highlights that there are already many initiatives that support the digitalization of businesses, including start-ups. There are also currently 4 "unicorns" in Czechia. Nevertheless, according to the report, the Czech Republic should primarily focus on supporting companies' access to advanced technologies, increasing the skills of their employees and generally raising awareness of the benefits of digitalization.

Overall, Czechia has allocated 22% of its National Recovery Plan to digitalization, a large part of which will contribute precisely to achieving the goals of the Digital Decade. A large part of the investments goes to support the digitalization of businesses. Czechia also actively supports digital skills in education, for example through updated Framework educational programs in the field of informatics and ICT or investments in digital equipment.

Next steps

As already mentioned at the beginning of this article, the report contains recommendations for further steps, especially in areas where the progress achieved is not sufficient for the time being. The member states will now prepare their activities with which they want to achieve the planned goals of the Digital Decade (national roadmaps should be published by October 9). The Commission and Member States will also continue to discuss the published conclusions and their impact.

More information is available in the EC's press release, in the accompanying questions and answers, in the published factsheet and in the report itself