European Commission highlights Portugal in 5G and electronic health services, but points the finger at digital skills and technology professionals

The European Commission published the second analysis report on the state of the Digital Decade, which stipulates a set of measures and objectives that the 27 member states must respect by 2030. The diagnosis for 2023 is not especially encouraging in the global analysis of the European Union (EU), and starts to surprise in the specific analysis of Portugal as it only has data from four of the 14 indicators requested.

In addition to appearing, together with Austria and Estonia, at the top of the countries that provided the least information to the European Commission, Portugal revealed that it is in line with the EU average in the technological intensity index, in development of new generation companies known as unicorns and in the most basic digital skills. On the other hand, there was a decline in the recruitment of professionals specialized in technologies and communications.

On the page you published for specific analysis of Portuguese digitalizationthe European Commission emphasizes that Portugal is on the way to achieving connectivity in the fifth generation of mobile networks (5G) and in “gigabit†connectivity (an allusion to the speed of fiber networks optics) across the entire territory before the target set for 2030. “Portugal has the best 5G in the EU in the 3.4 and 3.8 Gigahertz bands,†says the European Commission, pointing to a share of 5G market that has already reached 65.2% of homes in 2023.

The maturity of electronic health services is also praised by the European Commission by revealing an evolution of 40%, which allows Portugal to be above the European average. But there are still weaknesses: despite being slightly above the EU average, Portugal continues to make no major progress in the most basic digital skills. The hiring of technology and telecommunications specialists was also below average, and the European Commission even highlights that the female percentage rose from 21% in 2021 to 20% in 2023.

On the pages about the Digital Decade initiative, there are also work routes followed by each statebut, although it is not a unique case, the itinerary designed for Portugal has not been published.

The European Commission report does not hide a negative analysis of the global diagnosis in light of the objectives defined by the Digital Decade for 2030.

“The (European) Commission’s analysis shows that, in the current scenario, the collective efforts of Member States will fall short of the EU’s level of ambition. Gaps identified include the need for additional investments, both at EU and national level, in particular in the areas of digital skills, high-quality connectivity, the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) and data lysis by companies, semiconductor production and start-up ecosystems”, warns a statement published by the European executive this Tuesday.

Market fragmentation, dependence on external suppliers when it comes to semiconductors and chips, low levels of contracting of digital services between member states, lack of technology professionals and reduced penetration 5G networks are among the indicators that most contributed to a less optimistic analysis of digital evolution in 2023.

Even so, the European Commission report recalls that 205 billion euros have been invested in the digital transition in recent years. Which totals 21% of the amounts spent by the different community financing lines. According to the European Commission, the effort made towards the digital transition could unlock economic value valued at 3.4 billion euros.


Francesco Giganti

Journalist, social media, blogger and pop culture obsessive in newshubpro

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