In today’s world, digital skills are increasingly important. However, within the EU, little progress
has been made in recent years in improving basic digital competence among adult Europeans. The
Commission has issued guidance and supported Member States, but there have been relatively
few EU-funded projects focusing on basic digital literacy for adults. The European Court of
Auditors (ECA) has reviewed what the EU has done to increase digital skills among adults, and
what is planned for the 2021-2027 period.
In 2019, more than 75 million European adults of working age did not have at least basic digital skills.
This was particularly the case for older people, those with a low level of education and the
unemployed. At the same time, over 90 % of jobs already require at least basic digital skills.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the importance of basic digital skills for citizens,”
said Iliana Ivanova, the ECA member responsible for the review. “We observe that adults with
higher digital competence find jobs more easily; they also earn more than their less skilled peers. Our
review shows that the EU has long recognised the importance of basic digital skills for all citizens but
there is still a lot to be done. Now is the ideal time to shed light on this issue and I hope that our key
stakeholders will find our review useful in their preparations for the start of the new 2021-2027