EU launches European Digital Identity wallets

Margrethe Vestager

The European Commission has announced plans for a European Digital Identity which will be available to all EU citizens, residents and businesses in the EU.

The Commission said 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.

The Commission said very large platforms will be required to accept the use of European Digital Identity wallets upon request of the user, for example to prove their age.

It said use of the European Digital Identity wallet “will always be at the choice of the user.”

Reuters reported that the move also seeks to counter privacy and data protection concerns related to digital wallets offered by Apple, Alphabet unit Google, Thales and financial institutions.

Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age said: “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.

“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.”

Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton said: “EU citizens not only expect a high level of security but also convenience whether they are dealing with national administrations such as to submit a tax return or to enroll at a European university where they need official identification.

“The European Digital Identity wallets offer a new possibility for them to store and use data for all sorts of services, from checking in at the airport to renting a car. It is about giving a choice to consumers, a European choice.

“Our European companies, large and small, will also benefit from this digital identity, they will be able to offer a wide range of new services since the proposal offers a solution for secure and trusted identification services.”