Friday

30th Jul 2021

Europe's old and unemployed shun the internet

Almost half of Europeans use the internet every day but one third - mainly the elderly, the unemployed or people in rural areas - have never used the web, according to a new European Commission report.

The study, published on Tuesday (4 August), showed that new technologies are spreading fast across the old continent but deep divisions remain.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Brussels says "digital natives" hold a great potential for Europe's economy (Photo: printing.com)

Forty three percent of EU citizens currently use the web every day. While seventy five percent use it regularly (at least once a week) compared to 43 percent in 2005.

The biggest increases in regular internet use were seen in Ireland, the Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Latvia and Lithuania. Italy, Cyprus, Romania and Portugal lagged far behind in a what the report called a "source of concern."

With 114 million subscribers, the EU is the largest world market for fixed broadband access. Half of European households and more than 80 percent of European businesses have a fixed broadband connection.

Experts said that the high penetration levels have been achieved due to pro-competition regulation of the sector, which has led to lower prices.

But while broadband is technically available to 90 percent of EU households only 50 percent use it in practice, with mainly low-income families opting out.

Low usage rates are also seen among the 65 to 74 age group, economically inactive people and people with low levels of education.

Such social disparities are strongly present in Romania, Greece, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Lithuania, Slovenia and Italy. The greatest digital equality is seen in Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Luxemburg.

The commission's report also highlighted the rise of "digital natives" - people aged 16 to 24 - as the most active and creative internet users. Seventy three percent of this group regularly uses advanced services to create and share online content.

The new generation has "tremendous potential to generate huge revenues across all sectors," EU information society commissioner Viviane Reding said.

"But to turn this advantage into sustainable growth and new jobs, governments must show leadership by adopting co-ordinated policies that dismantle existing barriers to new services."

Luxembourg tax scandal may prompt EU action

An investigation into Luxembourg's tax regime has uncovered how the Italian mafia, the Russian underworld, and billionaires attempt to stash away their wealth. The European Commission has put itself on standby amid suggestions changes to EU law may be needed.

Investigation

Portugal vs Germany clash on EU corporate tax avoidance

Portugal's taking over the EU presidency puts the tax transparency law for corporations - which has been fought over for years - to a vote in the Council of Ministers. The resistance of the German government has failed.

News in Brief

  1. EU calls on online platforms to tackle vaccine hesitancy
  2. Russia accused of falling short on Sputnik V deliveries
  3. France: UK quarantine rules 'discriminatory'
  4. Italy's government reaches deal on judicial reform
  5. EU adopts guidelines to 'climate-proof' infrastructure projects
  6. US backs WHO plan for further Covid-origin investigation
  7. EU to buy 220,000 supplies of potential Covid treatment
  8. Report: Balkan states seek 'mini-Schengen'

Vietnam jails journalist critical of EU trade deal

A journalist who had demanded the EU postpone its trade deal with Vietnam until human rights improved has been sentenced to 15 years in jail. The EU Commission says it first needs to conduct a detailed analysis before responding.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. Can Greece work with Biden to solve the West Balkans impasse?
  2. EU and UK frustrated at US travel ban extension
  3. Polish judges rally behind EU court ruling
  4. Why 'Fit for 55' isn't fit for purpose
  5. EU hits vaccination target, as Delta variant now dominates
  6. European arms 'displaced over a million people', research finds
  7. Brexit: what is the 'Lugano Convention' and does it matter?
  8. US maintains summer travel ban on EU tourists

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us