European Digital Identity Framework Reaches Provisional Agreement
In a significant move towards fostering a secure and trusted digital environment for all Europeans, the Council presidency and representatives from the European Parliament have reached a provisional agreement on a groundbreaking framework for a European digital identity (eID).
Ensuring a Unique and Secure European Digital Identity
With the approval of the European digital identity regulation, a crucial step has been taken to provide citizens with a distinct and secure European digital identity. Nadia Calviño, acting Spanish first vice-president and minister for economy and digitalisation, emphasized the importance of this achievement, stating that it positions the European Union as a global leader in the digital arena, safeguarding democratic rights and values.
The European Digital Identity Wallet
The revised regulation marks a paradigm shift for digital identity in Europe, aiming to guarantee universal access to secure and trustworthy electronic identification and authentication for individuals and businesses alike.
Under the new law, member states will offer digital wallets to citizens and businesses, allowing them to link their national digital identities with proof of other personal attributes, such as driving licenses, diplomas, and bank accounts. This innovation enables citizens to easily prove their identity and share electronic documents directly from their digital wallets with a simple click on their mobile phones.
The European digital identity wallets will empower all Europeans to access online services using their national digital identification, recognized throughout Europe, without resorting to private identification methods or unnecessary sharing of personal data. User control is paramount, ensuring that only information requiring sharing will be disclosed.
Key Aspects of the Agreement
Since the initial provisional agreement in June, co-legislators have engaged in a series of technical meetings to finalize the text comprehensively. Some notable aspects agreed upon include:
E-signatures: The wallet will be free for natural persons by default, with member states having the option to limit free-of-charge use to non-professional purposes.
Wallet’s Business Model: Issuance, use, and revocation will be free of charge for all natural persons.
Validation of Electronic Attestation: Member states will provide free-of-charge validation mechanisms to verify the authenticity and validity of the wallet and relying parties’ identity.
Code for the Wallets: Application software components will be open source, with member states having leeway for justified reasons not to disclose specific components installed on user devices.
Consistency: The agreement ensures consistency between the wallet as an eID means and the underpinning scheme.
Technical work will continue to finalize the legal text in accordance with the provisional agreement. Upon completion, the text will be submitted to member states' representatives for endorsement. Pending legal and linguistic review, the revised regulation will then undergo formal adoption by the Parliament and the Council before being published in the EU’s Official Journal and coming into force.
Background and Future Outlook
In June 2021, the Commission proposed a framework for a European digital identity available to all EU citizens and businesses. This proposal builds upon the 2014 eIDAS regulation, setting the stage for secure online transactions and public service access.
The forthcoming European digital identity framework, once officially adopted, will bring about a new era of secure and accessible digital identification, aligning the EU as a frontrunner in the global digital landscape.