News & Events

Minister for EU Digital Single Market Pat Breen welcomes Ireland's improved performance in European Digitisation Index

Ireland now in 6th place in the EU Digital Economy and Society Index

Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Mr Pat Breen, today welcomed the news from the European Commission that Ireland has improved its performance in the 2020 EU Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) compared to 2019. Ireland ranks at 6th place on the Index. Over the last five years, Ireland has made continuous improvements in these rankings and is now the fastest growing Member State in the EU.

The methodology of the DESI 2020 has been changed from previous years to take account of the latest technological developments.

Minister Breen chairs the Inter-Departmental Committee on the Digital Single Market (DSM) which ensures a whole-of-Government approach and cross-Government coordination of the Digital Single Market agenda. The Committee brings together representatives from Government Departments that have a digital remit and whose work contributes to Ireland’s improved standing within the DESI Report. 

Minister Breen welcomed Ireland’s continued improvement in the index.

Ireland continues its steady performance in the rankings and has risen four places in three years. The DESI Report for 2020 shows that the actions Government has taken to progress the digital transformation agenda in Ireland is yielding ongoing results. Ireland either improved or maintained its performance in 29 indicators within the Index and was above the EU average in 24 of the indicators. This is a hugely impressive achievement and a clear indication that Ireland is well prepared to embrace the opportunities that the Digital Age is already bringing.

Ireland continues to rank first in the Integration of Digital Technology dimension and has maintained a leading position in the use of e-Commerce by SMEs. It entered the top 10 on the Use of Internet by individuals and recorded a notable increase in the share of internet users. It maintained its top 10 position in Digital Public Services, where it excels in open data and the provision of digital public services for businesses. Digital transformation continues to be one of the core economic policy issues in Ireland. This is reflected in the various policy initiatives in 2019. 

Ireland has taken a large number of targeted measures in digital to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. A joint rapid-response call was launched to fund research, development, and innovation activities to find solutions to the COVID-19 emergency, a contact tracing call-centre was set up and a contract tracing app is being developed. Additional funding has been made available for two targeted existing schemes to help companies trade online and efforts have been made to help move tertiary (including further) education online. 

Ireland’s position in the Index makes us a prominent member of the EU Digital 9+ (D9+) front-runner countries. The D9+ group is a loose affiliation of like-minded Member States on Digital Single Market issues, comprising the top-ranked European countries in the DESI. 

Minister Breen concluded:

While we should of course be very pleased with Ireland’s digital performance, we operate in a fast and dynamic environment.  We must continue to press ahead with adopting and implementing the necessary structural changes to remain at the forefront of the digital transformation agenda and avoid the risk of stalling against our competitors particularly as part of the economic recovery form Covid-19.

Notes to Editors: 

The Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) is a composite index that summarises five relevant indicators (Connectivity, Human Capital / Digital skills, Use of Internet by citizens, Integration of Digital Technology by businesses, Digital Public Services) on Europe’s digital performance and tracks the evolution of EU member states in digital competitiveness. 

Based on the 2020 methodology, Ireland ranks 6th in DESI 2020. Ireland ranked 6th DESI 2019, 8th DESI 2018 and DESI 2017 had Ireland ranked in 10th place. The DESI has been re-calculated for all countries for previous years to reflect the changes in the indicators and correction to the underlying data. Country scores and rankings may thus have changed compared with previous publications. For further information, please consult the DESI website: 

Ireland ranks very highly when it comes to the integration of digital technologies by businesses, mostly because many SMEs embraced e-commerce. Internet users increasingly take advantage of high-speed infrastructures, such as for use of Video on demand services, and also make good use of online public services. 

The Digital 9+ Countries (D9+) group is a loose affiliation of like-minded Member States on Single Market issues, comprising the top-ranked European countries in the European Commission annual Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI). 

The Interdepartmental Committee on the Digital Single Market is chaired by Pat Breen, Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection. Representation on the Committee was extended earlier this year to a further three Government Departments and now includes representatives from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) and the following other Government Departments / Agency: 

  • Department of the Taoiseach;
  • Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment;
  • Department of Justice & Equality;
  • Department of Finance / Public Expenditure & Reform, including the Office of the Chief Government Information Officer (OGCIO);
  • Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade;
  • Department of Transport, Tourism & Sports;
  • Department of Agriculture & the Marine;
  • Department of Education & Skills; and
  • IDA Ireland.



The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) plays a key role in implementing the Government’s policies of stimulating the productive capacity of the economy and creating an environment which supports job creation and maintenance. The Department has lead responsibility for Irish policy on global trade and inward investment and a remit to promote fair competition in the marketplace, protect consumers and safeguard workers.

For further information please contact Press Office, D/Business, Enterprise and Innovation, or (01) 631-2200

If you no longer wish to receive emails from the Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation Press Office, please notify us by email to