The European Commission has proposed new rules to enable cross-border and secure electronic transactions in Europe, by using national electronic identification schemes (e-IDs) to access public services.
With this project, European citizens would be able to use their e-ID in other EU countries, where this system is available, and an internal market for e-Signature and related online trust services across borders will be created. The services will work across borders and have the same legal status as traditional paper based processes.
Member States have the possibility to join the pan-European scheme or not. If they want to, they must offer the same access to public services via e-ID that they offer to their own citizens.
Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice President, said: "People and businesses should be able to transact within a borderless Digital Single Market, that is the value of Internet. Legal certainty and trust is also essential, so a more comprehensive eSignatures and eIdentification Regulation is needed."
The proposed Regulation will not oblige individuals to obtain, national identity cards, electronic identity cards or other eID solutions. However, all the Europeans that have one, will obtain some benefits such as access to medical records in another country, sign contracts, set up a company through the Internet and submit annual reports online, or register on a foreign university.
"This proposal will mean you can make the most of your e-ID, if you have one. With mutual recognition of national e-IDs and common standards for trust services and eSignatures, we can prevent a national carve-up of the Internet and online public services and make life easier for millions of businesses and even more citizens”, explained Kroes.