The European Parliament has backed new rules on electronic ID and trust services, paving the way for more secure cross-border trade in the EU, which is seen as essential to economic and social development among member states.
The Regulation on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market and the repeal of Directive 1999/93/EC was voted on in the middle of July following the European Commission’s proposal of new rules to enable cross-border and secure electronic transactions in Europe earlier this year.
The regulation is designed to ensure people and businesses can use their own national electronic identification schemes (eIDs) to access public services in other EU countries where eIDs are available. It also creates an internal market for eSignatures and related online trust services across borders, by ensuring these services will work across borders and have the same legal status as traditional paper-based processes. This will give full effect to the major potential savings of eProcurement.
The ruling respects both existing national ID systems and the preferences of those member states without national ID schemes. It allows countries with eIDs to opt – in or to remain outside of the European scheme. Once a member state notifies that they wish to join the pan-European scheme, they must offer the same access to public services via eID that they offer to their own citizens.
Speaking earlier this year, EC Vice President Neelie Kroes said: “People and businesses should be able to transact within a borderless digital single market, that is the value of internet. Legal certainty and trust is also essential, so a more comprehensive eSignatures and eIdentification regulation is needed.
“This means you can make the most of your eID, if you have one. With mutual recognition of national eIDs and common standards for trust services and eSignatures, we can prevent a national carve-up of the internet and online public services, and make life easier for millions of businesses and even more citizens.”
The ruling states: “The security of electronic identification schemes is key to trustworthy cross-border mutual recognition of electronic identification means. In this context, member states should cooperate with regard to the security and interoperability of the electronic identification schemes at Union level.”