The aim of this article is to analyse how the European Union (EU) evaluates its digital policies in the context of the Digital Agenda for Europe. In fact, the evaluation process, the indicators that the EU produces and uses to this aim, how it measures states’ performance in this field are all relevant issues mirroring the idea of (digital) Europe that the EU intends to build. Drawing on previous studies that have emphasised the political aspects of measurement and the governmentality power of indicators, the authors maintain that the way the EU measures the implementation of digital policies reflects a neoliberal vision of what a digital Europe should look like; furthermore, through rankings and ratings, the EU exerts a governmentality power on member states by conducting their behaviour at a distance. After introducing the theme, the study deepens the political dimension of evaluation and unfolds its crucial connection with neoliberalisation. Then it focuses on the European case, with a qualitative content analysis of the indicators included in three datasets that the European Commission has created over time: the Digital Agenda Key Indicators (DAKI), the Lead indicators for DG Connect policy priorities, and the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI). The article ends with some remarks about the kind of digital Europe promoted by indicators.
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