Only seven European countries have at least 50 percent of their companies online, and well under two thirds of UK companies are still not online - although the UK is still a European leader.

The Internet Barometer from database management and digital marketing firm Email-Brokers studies 21 countries and analyses 13 million websites.

William Vande Wiele, founder of Email-Brokers, said, "The weak presence of European companies on the internet is worrying, as according to the European Commission, 2.6 new jobs are created in the new digital economy for each job that is destroyed in the traditional economy."

The Barometer shows that Germany (64 percent), Belgium (61 percent) and the Netherlands (58 percent) are the European countries with the highest percentage of on-line companies. The UK stands at 57 percent - the same as Luxembourg - and well ahead of France and Spain on only 43 percent.

The UK was also well ahead of all the Nordic countries too, despite their reputation for being early adopters in digital technologies, including broadband and mobile,

In the social networks field, the most developed countries were the UK - 6 percent of companies active in social media - Italy (5.6 percent) and Sweden (5.4 percent). The UK (16 percent) is also, with Lichtenstein (17 percent), the country where the percentage of active e-commerce companies is the highest, according to the Barometer.

Vande Wiele said, "It is time public authorities launched an initiative to provide massive support for the development of the internet. Millions of jobs are a stake."