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The European Commission is proposing a new regulation for a European digital identity that will be available to all EU citizens, as well as residents, and businesses. Digital wallets will be offered to people and businesses by the member states. The move comes days after the EU’s digital COVID-19 certificate program went live in the first seven countries (all EU countries will be in the program by July 1).

The European Commission is composed of commissioners from all 27 EU countries. It helps to shape the EU’s overall strategy, proposes new EU laws and policies, monitors their implementation, and manages the EU budget. The new European digital identity wallets will be linked to peoples’ national digital identities. In this new digital wallet, all Europeans will be enabled to store documents ﹣ such as driver’s license and identity card, medical prescriptions or education qualifications ﹣ passwords, and payment cards.

The EU has just begun the first step in a multi-year cooperative effort leading to making life easier for Europeans. People will be able to prove their identity wherever necessary to access services online, to share digital documents, or simply to prove a specific personal attribute, such as age, without revealing their identity or other personal details. Just with a tap on their mobile phones.

European Digital Identity

Many people are already using digital wallets such as Apple Wallet and Google Pay on their mobile phones to store for instance their boarding passes when they travel or to keep their virtual bank cards for convenient payment. This new digital wallet ﹣ called European Digital Identity ﹣ is a personal digital wallet allowing people to digitally identify themselves, store and manage identity data and official documents in electronic format.

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It will not be compulsory once in place but available to anyone who wants to use it: any EU citizen, resident, and business in the Union who would like to make use of this new digital wallet will be able to do so. The digital wallets will be useable widely throughout the EU. You will be able to use it to access both public and private online services in the EU, in particular those requiring a strong user authentication. Examples of these could be accessing a bank account or applying for a loan, submitting tax declarations, enrolling in a university in your home country or abroad, and many other things that you do with your normal means of identification.

The EU has a set of targets and milestones which the European Digital Identity will help achieve. For example, by 2030, all key public services across the EU should be available online, all citizens will have access to electronic medical records, and 80% of citizens should use an eID solution. This initiative is built on the existing cross-border legal framework for trusted digital identities﹣the European electronic identification and trust services initiative (so-called eIDAS Regulation). It doesn’t require member states to develop a new national digital ID. It is rather addressing recent interoperability discrepancies to improve the effectiveness of the framework. And to extend its benefits to the private sector and to mobile use.


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