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The European Commission has proposed a framework for a European Digital Identity which will be available to all EU citizens, residents, and businesses in the EU. Citizens will be able to prove their identity and share electronic documents from their European Digital Identity wallets with the click of a button on their phones. The scheme is intended to be completely voluntary. Photo Credit: Freepik / Illustrative Photo.

Czech Rep., June 7 (BD) – Under a new regulation proposed by the European Commission, EU member states will offer citizens and businesses a European Digital Identity (EDI), a digital wallet that will be able to link their national digital identities with other personal documents, such as driving licenses, diplomas, and bank accounts. These wallets may be provided by public authorities or by private entities recognized by a member state, and will enable all Europeans to access services online without having to use private identification methods or share personal data unnecessarily.

Under the proposals, the EDI will be:

  • Available to anyone who wants to use it: EU citizens, residents, and businesses in the Union will be able to access the Wallets;
  • Widely useable: The EDI wallets will be a way either to identify users or to prove certain personal attributes, to access public and private digital services across the Union;
  • Fully under the control of users: The EDI wallets will enable people to choose which aspects of their identity, data, and certificates they want to share with third parties, and to keep track of such sharing. The Commission states that the EDI will always be entirely voluntary.

“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,” said Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission with responsibility for digitalisation. “Be that renting a flat or opening a bank account outside of our home country. And do this in a way that is secure and transparent. So that we will decide how much information we wish to share about ourselves, with whom, and for what purpose. This is a unique opportunity to take us all further into experiencing what it means to live in Europe, and to be European.”

The proposal is accompanied by a Recommendation for 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.

More information on the scheme is available at the European Commission website.

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