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dpa/GNA – More than 75 million European adults of working age do not have at least basic digital skills, the European Court of Auditors (ECA) said on Tuesday.

Although many EU member states had identified digital skills as a priority, not enough funding was allocated for training purposes in that area across the bloc, the auditors found.

“Member states have not significantly improved in recent years,” the auditors said in a press release.

The ECA oversees how EU money is spent.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the importance of basic digital skills for citizens,” Iliana Ivanova, the ECA member responsible for the review, said.

Digital skills, according to the European Council, include information and data literacy, communication, and media literacy, for example.

The numbers, based on 2019 figures, correspond to 35 per cent of European adults in the labour force – those in work or looking for a job – between 25 and 64 years old.

For the adult population more generally – people aged 16 to 74 years old and not only the adult workforce – the situation looks even worse: around 44 per cent of citizens did not have basic digital skills in 2019.

Although the European Commission vowed to push the number of people with such skills from 56 per cent in 2019 up to 70 per cent by 2025, some challenges remained, like the allocation of specific amounts of future EU programmes as well as the definition of milestones and sub-objectives, the auditors found.

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