Croatia Ranked 20th in EU on Digital Economy and Society Index

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, June 12, 2019 – Croatia ranked 20th on the European Commission’s 2019 Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), climbing two places, the Commission reported on Tuesday.

Since 2015, the Commission monitors the digital competitiveness of member states through DESI reports.

Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, Great Britain and Luxembourg are the forerunners. Slovakia, Cyprus, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Greece, Romania and Bulgaria were ranked below Croatia.

Croatia’s score increased thanks to an improved performance in some of the DESI dimensions measured. Croatia performs well in fixed broadband coverage and improved 4G and NGA coverage, but still performs low in connectivity.

Croatia made progress on internet and digital public services use. Croats are among the EU’s keenest readers of online news, and Croatian businesses use social media, big data and e-commerce. Still, one fifth of Croatians are not yet online. Despite growing demand on the labour market, the supply of ICT specialists is below the EU average.

Among all DESI dimensions, Croatia ranks highest in human capital, with the highest share of ICT graduates.

The Commission’s report notes that Croatia has no overreaching digital skills strategy but currently addresses the issue through various strategic documents. It is preparing the ‘National Development Strategy Croatia 2030, which will become the country’s main strategic document.

During the course of 2018 and 2019, Croatia has launched over 40 different digital projects that will further shape the digitisation of the Croatian public administration, the report says.

When it comes to connectivity, despite some progress Croatia, ranked second to last in the EU.

Fixed coverage, at 99.5%, is above the EU average of 97%. Mobile broadband take-up has improved slightly, but also remains below the EU average.

Croatia has improved its fast broadband (NGA) coverage to 83%, which is now the EU average level. On ultrafast (100 Mbps and above) broadband, Croatia is lagging behind significantly, with only 39%, compared with an EU average of 60%. The rate of fast broadband subscriptions increased markedly last year (up from 7% in 2017 to 19%), but remains very low.

The goals set for 2020 as regards NGA coverage are hard to achieve, despite the existence of two national EU-co-financed NGN schemes with a budget of 224.4 million euro (of which 209.2 million euro comes from the ERDF). Both programmes focus on areas where high-speed connectivity is neither available nor planned due to the lack of commercial interest. While the funding is available, the implementation of both programmes is seriously delayed and the milestones are being postponed, putting at risk the absorption of the available funds, the EC says in its report.

The first 5G commercial networks are expected to start operating in 2020.

In the human capital dimension, Croatia ranks 13th out of EU countries, slightly below the EU average. Increasing number of Croats are going online and digital skills oscillate around the EU averages. Croatian SMEs lack sufficient ICT specialists, since at least 57 % of those that needed such specialists in 2018 reported difficulties in filling vacancies. The number of ICT graduates continues to grow. Female ICT specialists represent a very small proportion of total female employment – only 0.9% of employed women.

As for the integration of digital technology within businesses, Croatia ranks 18th among EU countries.

As for digital public services, Croatia ranks 22nd, below the EU average. Croatia performs very well in e-prescriptions, and there is a high level of online interaction between public authorities and members of the public. 75% of online users actively embrace e-government services.

In 2018, Croatia performed better than in previous year as regards pre-filled forms. Furthermore, the availability of e-government services for business is on the rise. Croatia performs well the provision of e-health services and it ranks 10th in the EU as regards online users (22%). 97% of general practitioners use e-prescriptions and 51% of them exchange medical data, the report notes.

It also notes that Croatia has launched the development of an electronic process to link all the data of registering companies and start-ups by developing an electronic one-stop-shop through the e-citizen system. This platform offers services to SMEs, including an e-business service for accessing documents to do with taxation, health insurance or pension matters, while e-fees enable administrative fees and charges to be paid by electronic means. e-Citizen enables easier communication between members of the public and the public sector and makes public sector services more transparent.

In 2019 Croatia is launching the Shared Service Centre (SSC), the e-government cloud solution, to further speed up development of public digital services, the report notes.

More IT news can be found in the Lifestyle section.


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