Brussels (Brussels Morning) EU citizens will have digital identities, or digital wallets, allowing them to access online services in order to open bank accounts, file tax returns, enroll in academic studies or even rent accommodation or a car.
In proposing the introduction of these digital wallets, the European Commission made clear that the individual decision to use it or not would always be a matter of free choice.
“The European digital identity will enable us to do in any member state as we do at home without any extra cost and fewer hurdles”, Executive VP for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age, Margrethe Vestager, declared.
“I welcome the Commission’s proposal on the EU digital identity. It will give businesses and citizens access to public and financial services online, making full use of the single market”, MEP Ondrej Kovarik (Renew Europe) said.
As for data privacy and security, the EU executive insisted the new European identity would be protected by the General Data Protection Regulation law and that users would be able to choose what data they want to have in or exclude from their wallets.
“The European Digital Identity wallets offer a new possibility for them [EU citizens] to store and use data for all sorts of services, from checking in at the airport to renting a car. It is about giving a choice to consumers, a European choice”, Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton explained.
How will it work?
Essentially, the digital ID will be underpinned by the eIDAS regulation, which is to be revised to provide electronic identification for people and businesses in the internal market.
According to Breton, European companies, large and small, will also benefit from the digital identity, since they will be able to offer a wide range of new services thanks to its ability to deliver and ensure secure and trusted identification services.
Wallets may be provided by public authorities or by private entities, as long as they are recognised by a member state, the Commission said.
Under the proposed legislation, EU countries will offer citizens and businesses digital wallets that will be able to link their national digital identities with proof of other personal attributes, for example, driving licence, academic diplomas, bank account, etc.
The Commission is to start working with EU countries and the private sector on technical aspects related to the delivery of the European Digital Identity. Many member states have allotted a place for e-government solutions, including the digital identity, in their national plans under the Recovery and Resilience Facility.