European Commission’s proposal for a European Digital Identity

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The European Commission published its awaited proposal for a Regulation on establishing a framework for a European Digital Identity. This proposal has the ambition to address some of the shortcomings of the eIDAS Regulation and set the right conditions for a clear uptake of digital identity in the EU. The objective is indeed to create the right framework to ensure access to highly secure and trustworthy electronic identity solutions that could be leveraged by private and public services.  

In its proposal, the European Commission insists early on the need to support the shift between previous use of “rigid digital identities” to the “provision and reliance on specific attributes related to these identities”. This also fits into the ambition to provide individuals with more control over their digital identities and, for example, allow users to limit the sharing of identity data to what is necessary for the provision of a service.  

Digital identity will still be issued by national authorities, based on common standards to ensure seamless interoperability  across borders.  

The objective for the European Commission is twofold: ensuring rapid and maximum coverage (the ambition being 80% of Europeans able to access key public services digitally by 2030), but also expanding the scope of solutions and use-cases proposed for digital identity and trust services.  

Digital identity offers new opportunities to facilitate identification and secure transactions online. To ensure its uptake, the European Commission specifies that “private relying parties” providing services in the areas of transport, energy, banking and financial services, social security, health, drinking water, postal services, digital infrastructure, education or telecommunications should accept the use of European Digital Identity Wallets for the provision of services where strong user authentication for online identification is required. The European Commission also envisaged (pending the evolution of the discussion on the Digital Services Act) to require very large online platforms to propose Digital Identity Wallets as an option for authentication, upon voluntary request of the user. 

Finally, the Regulation also proposes a framework for trust services  with regards to archiving services, as well as the creation and maintenance of electronic ledgers and qualified electronic ledgers.  

The proposal will be discussed within the European Parliament and the European Council for amendments before being formally amended. 

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