In line with current global trends, Luxembourg, like other countries, is facing a real digital revolution. The government has decided to make the most of all the new opportunities that this brings, but it is also determined to rise to the challenges that come along with it. One of those challenges specifically concerns specifically the inclusion of every individual in the digital transformation of our society.
One of the strategic priorities of the Ministry for Digitalisation directly involves digital inclusion, the process aimed at making digital technology accessible to all individuals and imparting to them the digital skills that will be key to their social and economic inclusion. A number of the Ministry’s projects and initiatives address this commitment.
The Luxembourg context
According to the surveys carried out by Eurostat and Statec Luxembourg, compared to other European countries, can take pride in having one of the highest levels of internet penetration and levels of basic digital skills. However, despite these excellent scores, a perceptible digital divide still exists amongst its citizens.
The term “digital divide” defines the gap between people who have affordable access, skills and support to engage effectively online and those without such access, skills and support. This divide is often found to affect certain types of populations more than others. The eclectic nature of society and the disparity of citizens’ needs and expectations, depending on their level of digital vulnerability, are aspects which make the situation even more complex.
Luxembourg therefore needs to take proactive steps to provide support and assistance with regard to technological developments and progress, with the aim of optimally involving every citizen in the digital transformation in the Grand Duchy. If this gap is to be reduced, or even eliminated, it is essential to have a good understanding of the Luxembourg context, so as to be able to identify the population groups most at risk and determine how the puzzle of the digital divide is formed.
Thus, a Eurostat survey dating from 2021 shows that, in Luxembourg, 97.3% of individuals aged between 16 and 74 are regular internet users and that 81.9% of persons aged from 65 to 74 use the internet every day. A survey carried out by Statec in 2020 further reveals that 9% of internet users do not use digital public services on account of a lack of digital skills; and a TNS-Ilres survey carried out in 2019 indicates that 43% of residents think that the State should help people to familiarise themselves better with the various digital tools.
A cross-cutting issue
With a view to filling a possible digital gap, the Government has committed itself to establishing a plan of action designed to ensure that everyone is included in the digital transformation of society.
An inter-ministerial working group has thus been set up to carry out a cross-cutting analysis of all aspects of digital inclusion in Luxembourg and to initiate actions aimed at meeting the needs identified. This working group is coordinated by the Ministry for Digitalisation and brings together representatives from 19 different ministries. Since its launch in 2019, it has been meeting at three-monthly intervals to discuss and exchange views on the subject of digital inclusion in Luxembourg and the situation in that regard.
Upstream from the work done by the inter-ministerial working group, the Ministry for Digitalisation also requested a consultation debate in the Chamber of Deputies in order to gather the thoughts of the deputies on Luxembourg’s digital transition and on how to make this a success for the whole of society. In addition, the Ministry commissioned a study on the public’s perceptions regarding digitalisation from the Luxembourg market research institute TNS Ilres.
The National Action Plan
The National Action Plan for Digital Inclusion, announced in the coalition agreement, was drawn up by the Ministry for Digitalisation in close consultation with the inter-ministerial working group dedicated to digital inclusion and following bilateral exchanges with associations and various non-state actors close to populations isolated from the digital world.
On the basis of all the consultations and dialogue, the Ministry for Digitalisation has defined three strategic levers to foster the digital inclusion of all citizens. These levers bring together a set of 40 concrete initiatives, 18 of which fall within the competence of the Ministry for Digitalisation. Those strategic levers are as follows:
- Increasing digital motivation and building digital confidence
- Facilitating digital access
- Developing digital skills
The National Action Plan was adopted by the Government Council on 24 September 2021 and was presented to the public on 6 October 2021 by Marc Hansen, Minister Delegate for Digitalisation.
The initiatives of the Ministry
The initiatives presented below form part of the National Action Plan for Digital Inclusion. They have been implemented by, or are currently ongoing within, the Ministry for Digitalisation.
- Launch of a web portal dedicated to digital inclusion
The Ministry for Digitalisation has launched a web portal dedicated to digital inclusion: www.zesummendigital.lu. This portal provides useful information about actors in the field of digital inclusion and existing actions in Luxembourg, as well as informative, awareness-raising and self-help publications and resources promoting digital inclusion.
- Launch of an annual call for projects
The Ministry for Digitalisation launches every year a call for projects for the financing of pilot projects promoting digital inclusion in Luxembourg. These calls for projects are addressed to associations, private bodies, public institutions, municipalities, inter-municipal bodies, professional chambers, training centres and public research institutes committed to the promotion of digital inclusion. The first call for projects was launched in 2022. Twenty-eight dossiers were submitted to the Ministry, of which six were awarded a financing agreement.
- Organisation of a day dedicated to digital inclusion on 17 May
The Ministry for Digitalisation organises, on 17 May each year, a National Day dedicated to digital inclusion, as part of the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day. The aim is to highlight the topic of digital inclusion in Luxembourg. The first National Digital Inclusion Day was held on 17 May 2022. The names of the winners of the call for projects for the financing of pilot projects were announced at an official ceremony held on that occasion.
- Providing digital skills training
The Ministry for Digitalisation has since 2021 been collaborating with the non-profit association Erwuessebildung with a view to the development of specifically tailored training in digital skills. The various training courses are made available free of charge to organisations operating in the social sector, in order to make them accessible to as many people as possible throughout the Grand Duchy. The range of training courses offered is to be expanded by the addition of, for example, training in the use of MyGuichet.lu.
- Development of “e-Banking” training
The Ministry for Digitalisation and the Ministry for Consumer Protection, in collaboration with the “Commission de surveillance du secteur financier”, the non-profit association Erwuessebildung and the ABBL Foundation for Financial Education, have developed an e-banking training module, as a preparation for the use of digital banking services.
- Study on the impact of digital developments
The Ministry for Digitalisation and the Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER) have launched a quantitative and qualitative study on the impact of recent digital developments on people who are reluctant towards digital technology. The results of the study are expected during the course of 2023.
- Feasibility study concerning a “digital proxy”
The Ministry for Digitalisation and the Government IT Centre (CTIE) have launched, through the GovTech Lab, a legal and technical feasibility study for the possible introduction of a digital proxy to enable a third party to carry out digital administrative procedures on behalf of a relative.
- Establishment of a research programme on the user-friendliness of digital public services
The Ministry for Digitalisation and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) signed a 4-year framework agreement in February 2022 on the user-friendliness of digital public services and the socio-technical aspects of the user interface and their impact on digital inclusion. Amongst other things, the research programme will examine how new technologies and research can promote digital inclusion.
- Animation of an interdisciplinary forum on digital inclusion
The Ministry for Digitalisation organises an interdisciplinary forum on digital inclusion every six months. This forum brings together representatives of ministerial departments, actors active in digital inclusion and stakeholders supporting people that are isolated from the digital world. The first edition of the forum was organised on 1 December 2022 at the Alen Tramsschapp, where it brought together more than 120 representatives of associations and organisations whose target audiences are potentially confronted with some degree of digital exclusion.
The initiatives carried out by the CTIE
The initiatives presented below form part of the National Action Plan for Digital Inclusion and constitute regular activities of the Centre des technologies de l’information de l’État (Government IT Centre - CTIE).
The initiatives carried out by the CTIE form part of the “Electronic Governance 2021-25” strategy. That strategy aims at reinforcing eGovernment and is designed to support the transition towards digital government. The intention is to promote, among other things, transversal digital accessibility, develop user-centred services, offer attractive online public services and invest in citizens’ trust in online state services.
- Continuous development of the mobile app MyGuichet.lu
The CTIE is continuously developing the range of administrative procedures and functionalities available on the MyGuichet.lu app, to enable citizens to have simple, mobile access to the services operated by the State. Thus, for several months now, citizens have been able to consult, on the app, all the data already present on the MyGuichet.lu web portal.
- Promotion of easy-to-read language on Guichet.lu
The CTIE is continuously developing and making available descriptions of administrative procedures in easy-to-read German on Guichet.lu. Since the National Action Plan for Digital Inclusion was first presented, the range of such descriptive guides has been expanded to include “easy to read and understand” French (FALC).
- Reinforcing the accessibility of digital state services and products
The CTIE is putting in place accessible digital state services and products in accordance with the Government’s ReNow framework (standardisation framework for websites). This framework constitutes an approach and assistance in terms of web quality for state bodies and entities, which includes many aspects of standardisation, such as quality standards, web-accessibility standards and a user-centred approach.
- Educational supports to access digital government services
The CTIE develops and provides analogue, audio-visual and digital media to securely access digital government services. This includes instructional videos, online tutorials in the form of videos and PDFs, flyers, brochures and user guides which ensure that all citizens are supported when connecting to and using digital public services.
You can find all the initiatives comprised in the National Action Plan for Digital Inclusion in the form of a brochure.
- Access to public services via the GouvID app
Since the Action Plan was first presented, the CTIE has launched the GouvID app, which enables citizens to use their electronic Luxembourg ID card in conjunction with their smartphone to identify themselves to certain online public services such as MyGuichet.lu on a PC or tablet.