Insights European Commission proposes new Regulation and publishes Recommendation for a European Digital Identity

The idea behind the new Regulation is for EU citizens, residents and businesses in the EU to be able to prove their identity and share electronic documents from a European Digital Identity Wallet with the click of a button on their phone. They would be able to access online services with their national digital identification, which would be recognised throughout Europe. Very large platforms would be required to accept the use of European Digital Identity Wallets upon request by the user, for example to prove their age. Use of the European Digital Identity Wallet would always be at the choice of the user.

Under the new Regulation, Member States would offer citizens and businesses digital wallets that would link their national digital identities with other forms of proof, such as driving licences, diplomas and bank accounts. These wallets may be provided by public authorities or by private entities, provided they are recognised by a Member State.

The new European Digital Identity Wallets would enable all Europeans to access services online without having to use private identification methods or unnecessarily sharing personal data.

The European Digital Identity would:

  • be available to anyone who wants to use it: any EU citizen, resident, and business in the Union who would like to make use of the European Digital Identity would be able to do so;
  • be widely useable: the European Digital Identity Wallets would be useable widely as a way either to identify users or to prove certain personal attributes for the purpose of access to public and private digital services across the Union; and
  • ensure users are in control of their data: the European Digital Identity Wallets would enable people to choose which aspects of their identity, data and certificates they share with third parties, and to keep track of such sharing; user control ensures that only information that needs to be shared will be shared.

The Commission has also published a Recommendation and is inviting 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.

In parallel to the legislative process, the Commission says that it will work with Member States and the private sector on technical aspects of the European Digital Identity. To read the Commission’s press release in full and for links to the Regulation text and the Recommendation, click here.