Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative

Glossary of terms

Glossary of terms, as used in the facts & figures reports.
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Baseline – the initial measurement of an indicator. Evolution is measured against the identified baseline.

Composite indicator – a mathematical combination of individual indicators that represent different dimensions of a concept whose description is the objective of the analysis.

Evaluations - tools to provide a reliable and objective assessment of how efficient and effective interventions have been or are expected to be (in the case of ex ante evaluation). Commission services assess to what extent they have reached their policy objectives, and how they could improve their performance in the future.

Impact – a general term used to describe the effects of an intervention on society. Impacts are grouped with results, as short, medium and long term effects of interventions for which DG Connect is only be partly accountable.

Impact assessment – a tool to analyse the potential benefits and costs of different policy options to tackle a particular problem. Impact assessment is enhanced in the European Commission's processes by the Better Regulation Action Plan and the European Strategy for Sustainable Development, and later the Lisbon Strategy for growth and jobs (2005).

Indicator – a characteristic or attribute which can be measured to monitor a situation and/or assess an intervention. Indicators can be quantitative or qualitative.

Input – everything we need to implement an intervention, i.e. the human, financial and information resources involved.

Intervention logic – the conceptual link from an intervention's inputs to the production of its outputs and, subsequently, to its results and impacts on society.

Lead indicator – an indicator highlighted for all priorities in a given field, which is most representative of the progress and/or performance in that field at a certain time.

Metrics – a set of measurements and statistics describing the performance or monitoring the evolution of outputs, results and impacts. In the metrics reports, indicators have been identified, as well as their baselines and the timeframe in which a pre-set target should be reached.

Output – the goods and services generated through processes or activities.

Priority – a specific field of action defined within higher level goals. Each report corresponds to one priority. One priority is usually linked to several others.

Result – the initial impact of an intervention. Results are grouped with impacts, as short, medium and long term effects of interventions for which DG Connect is only be partly accountable.

Situation description – an overview of the current state of play in a given field, including the problems and opportunities identified.

Target – associated to a specific indicator: the target expected to be reached within a given timeframe.

Timeframe – the period of time within which an indicator (both output and results/impact level) is measured; at the end of the given timeframe, a specific target is expected to be reached.

Top level goal – a goal set by the European Commission through several initiatives (Digital Agenda for Europe, Horizon 2020, etc.). Top level targets are explicitly linked to each priority that contributes to their achievement.

Vision – the description of the desired situation at a certain time, including the long term goals and desired changes in the situation defined for each priority.

See also the Communication on Smart Regulation in the European Union (COM(2010) 543 final).