For all that debate over whether Europe's diverse nations should even be united under one fiscal union, here's an eye-popping statistic: Nearly one quarter of European Union citizens have never used the internet. Specifically 24 percent of 16-to-74 year olds in the European Union's 27 member states have never accessed it. The data comes from Eurostat, a Luxembourg-based organization charged with providing data on the European Union. The organization says, unsurprisingly, that eastern and southern European nations provide the bulk of the unconnected citizens. Romania has the fewest people with internet access at 46 percent, and Sweden has the most with 95 percent connected. The Globe and Mail is shocked enough by the numbers to write, "Never mind the Euro crisis." From their analysis:
As well as highlighting geographic disparities across one of the world's most-developed regions, the figures underline the lack of opportunity people in poorer communities have to take part in advances such as the Internet that have delivered lower cost goods and service to millions of people.
The data about each country is fun to look through, and it certainly provides a nuanced look at the region whose fiscal crisis is capturing headlines this year.