Back to the efuture: eIDAS & the new European Digital Identity Framework

Last week (3 & 4 June 2021) the EU announced simultaneously the death of eIDAS and launched a brand new European Digital Identity Framework. Taking both a step backward and another forward in a move towards the digital e-future.

eIDAS had promised a vision of the future where electronic signatures and other trust services across the EU would remove need for physical signature and proof of identity. In its youtube video these services were set to be available by 2019. It is a shame that things didn’t move as fast as hoped.

In the report on “the evaluation of Regulation (EU) No 910/2014 on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market (eIDAS)” the Council of the European Union stated:

The current eIDAS Regulation cannot address these new market demands given its inherent limitations to the public sector, the complexity for online private providers to connect to the system, its insufficient availability in all Member States and its lack of flexibility to support a variety of cases.

So eIDAS is dead, well not quite. The commission is now rallying behind the new European Digital Identity Framework, designed to deal with many of the problems that eIDAS set out to fix.

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 phone. They will be able to access online services with their national digital identification, which will be recognised throughout Europe.

This is good news for all of us that believe that digital identity is the missing link that binds payments and compliance, and will solve the age-old problem of proving you really are who you say you are.

But we are not quite there yet. The commission wants to make digital identity a reality as soon as possible and suggests an aggressive timeframe to create a common toolbox by September 2022, with a target in the Commissions Digital Compass of 80% of citizens using digital ID by 2030.

So, not a quick fix for the current know-your-customer, customer due diligence, and on-boarding challenges faced by most of Europe’s banks! But another step in the right direction.