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Margrethe Vestager, on the left, and Thierry Breton

The European Commission has proposed a new framework for a European Digital Identity, to be available to all citizens, residents and businesses in the EU. Citizens will be able to access and share documents, as well as prove their identity, through the European Digital Identity wallets on their phone. They will also be able to utilise online services with their national digital identification, which will be recognised across the region. The integration of the European Digital Identity framework into very large platforms will be beneficial for Europeans, as these platforms will be required to accept the use of European Digital Identity wallets upon request of the user, for example to prove their age. Use of the European Digital Identity wallet will always be at the choice of the user.

Under the new Regulation, Member States will offer citizens and businesses digital wallets, enabling them to link their national digital identities with proof of other personal attributes, for example, their driving licence, diplomas, and bank account. The wallets will be provided by Member State-recognised entities, which may include public authorities or private organisations. All Europeans will have access services online without needing to use private identification methods or unnecessarily sharing personal data; this is a solution that gives Europeans the choice so they remain fully in control of the data they share.

The proposal is accompanied by a Recommendation from the Commission in order to bring it to fruition as soon as possible, inviting Member States to establish a common toolbox by September 2022 and to start the necessary preparatory work immediately. This toolbox should include the technical architecture, standards and guidelines for best practices.

The Commission will simultaneously work with Member States and the private sector on the technical aspects of the European Digital Identity. The implementation of the European Digital Identity framework contributes to goals of the Digital Europe Programme, and many Member States have foreseen the use of e-government solutions, including the European Digital Identity, in their national plans under the Recovery and Resilience Facility.

This framework exists within the Commission's 2030 Digital Compass, which sets out a number of targets and milestones which the European Digital Identity will help achieve. By 2030, all key public services should be available online, all citizens will have access to electronic medical records; and 80% citizens should use an eID solution. The European Digital Identity framework therefore helps in bringing about Europe's planned digital transformation.

© European Union, 2021

News details

Digital technology / specialisation
Digital skill level
Basic
Intermediate
Advanced
Digital Expert
Geographic scope - Country
Austria
Belgium
Bulgaria
Cyprus
Romania
Type of initiative
EU institutional initiative