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Europe Lacks IT Skills for Growth, Commission Says

PCW - Poor IT skills could stall Europe's economic recovery, according to figures released by the European Union on Monday.

The annual digital agenda scoreboard showed that only half of the European labor force has sufficient IT skills for the jobs that are available. According to the figures only 43 percent of the E.U. population has medium or high Internet skills and can, for example, "use the Internet to make a phone call or create a web page." Almost a quarter have no ICT skills at all. It is estimated that ICT vacancies will number 700,000 by 2015.

The European IT sector is currently worth 6 percent of E.U. GDP and accounts for more than 8 million jobs. Although there is growing demand for ever-faster Internet access and more mobile connectivity, online shopping is still a national activity, with only a 10th of online consumers shopping across borders. In addition, the majority of small and medium-size companies (SMEs) neither shop nor sell online and commercial research investment has stalled.

"This attachment to 20th century policy mindsets and business models is hurting Europe's economy. It's a terrible shame. We are shooting ourselves in the foot by under-investing. Europe will be flattened by its global competitors if we continue to be complacent," said Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes in a statement.