EIDAS- Final project on identification and electronic signature

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Vice-President Neelie Kroes and Commissioner Michel Barnier welcomed last friday (February, the 28th) Member States’ endorsement of a “Draft regulation on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions” in the internal market.

The Regulation will enable, for example, students to enrol at a foreign university online; citizens to fill on-line tax returns in another EU country; and businesses to participate electronically in public calls for tenders across the EU, to mention just a few of multiple new digital trust related services.

Neelie Kroes said:

“The adoption of this Regulation on e-ID is a fundamental step towards the completion of the Digital Single Market. This agreement boost trust and convenience in cross-border and cross-sector electronic transactions. I would like to thank the European Parliament, especially ITRE’s rapporteur, Marita Ulvskog and IMCO’s rapporteur, Marielle Gallo, the shadow rapporteurs, as well as the Greek, Lithuanian, Irish and Cypriot Presidencies for all their work on this file.”

Last friday (February, the 28th), EU ambassadors endorsed the political agreement reached between representatives of the European Parliament, Commission and Council on Tuesday 25 February on the final elements of this significant single market proposal.

A predictable regulatory environment for eID and electronic trust services is key to promote innovation and stimulate competition. On the one hand, it will ensure that people and businesses can use and leverage across borders their national eIDs to access at least public services in other EU countries fully respecting privacy and data protection rules. On the other hand, it will remove the barriers to seamless electronic trust services across borders by ensuring that they enjoy the same legal value as in paper-based processes.

Michel Barnier, Commissioner for Internal Market and Services added:

“I welcome this agreement which is key to completing our work on the Single Market Act. It is an important step for the development of e-commerce, e-invoicing and e-procurement. The new rules will allow all actors in the single market – citizens, consumers, businesses and administrative authorities – to develop their “on-line” activities.”

Background regarding draft Regulation on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions

On 4 June 2012, the European Commission proposed a draft Regulation on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market (see IP/12/558 and MEMO/12/403)

The Regulation is due to be formally endorsed by the European Parliament in the April 2014 plenary session and by the Council of Ministers in June. It will come into force on 1st July 2014 and will be directly applicable cross the EU from that date. The economic effect will be immediate, overcoming problems of fragmented national legal regimes and cutting red tape and unnecessary costs.

Foster the interoperability of eID usage and trust services. The existing EU legislation on eSignatures has been strengthened and extended to cover the full set of electronic identification and trust services and make it more fit for the digital single market. This will have a huge impact on the legal validity and interoperability of national and cross-border electronic transactions.

The so named eIDAS Regulation provides for principles, like:

  • Transparency and accountability: well-defined minimal obligations for Trust Services Providers (TSPs) and liability;
  • Trustworthiness of the services together with security requirements for TSPs
  • Technological neutrality: avoiding requirements which could only be met by a specific technology;
  • Market rules and building on standardisation

And defines especific digital trust related services such as:

  • Electronic identification,
  • Electronic signatures for natural persons
  • Electronic seals for legal persons
  • Time stamping,
  • Electronic delivery services,
  • Electronic documents admissibility,
  • Website authentication
  • After eIDAS entering into force,  a EU Member State:
  • May ‘notify’ the ‘national’ electronic identification scheme(s) used at home for access to its public services
  • Must recognise ‘notified’ eIDs of other Member States for cross-border access to its online services when its national laws mandate e-identification
  • Must provide a free online authentication facility for its ‘notified’ eID(s)
  • Is liable for unambiguous identification of persons and for authentication.

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