One in three Europeans have never used internet

Europe has some way to go before we all become "digitally savvy" enough to compete globally with the world, as a third of EU citizens have never used the internet.

However, the European Commission still claims that Europe's digital sector has made strong progress since 2005, with more than half (56 per cent) of Europeans now regularly using the internet, a jump of a third since 2004.

More than 80 per cent of businesses and half of households now have a broadband connection. But along with the third of Europeans who have never used the internet, only seven per cent of consumers had shopped online in another member state.

Europe was also still behind the US and Japan when it came to ICT research and development, as well as high-speed broadband communications.

The EC claimed that building on the potential of the digital economy was essential to see a recovery from the economic crisis.

That said, a new generation of Europeans who have mastered the web called "digital natives" were about to begin their professional lives, and would dominate market trends, the EC said.

"We should seize the opportunity of a new generation of Europeans who will soon be calling the shots in the European market place," said Viviane Reding, EU commissioner for information society and media, in a statement.

"These young people are intensive users and are also highly demanding consumers. To release the economic potential of these digital natives', we must make access to digital content an easy and fair game," she said.