EU Parliamentarians Back EU Digital Wallet

March 4, 2024
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Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have passed EU Digital Identity framework, leaving it with one final hurdle to pass at the European Council.

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have passed EU Digital Identity framework, leaving it with one final hurdle to pass at the European Council.  

MEPs adopted a regulation last week that will allow citizens to identify and authenticate themselves online without having to resort to commercial providers with an EU digital wallet. 

This new digital identity wallet, of which the framework for has sometimes been referred to as eIDAS 2, will be accessible on a voluntary basis and has already been agreed upon with EU ministers. 

It sets out the harmonised conditions for the establishment of a framework for EU digital identity wallets that will need to be issued by member states. 

“This legislation aims to empower citizens by putting them in full control of the use and sharing of their data,” said Romana Jerković, the rapporteur for the legislation. 

“Digital identity has evolved from being a mere convenience to becoming a catalyst for civic involvement, social empowerment, and a means to foster inclusivity in the digital age.”

During negotiations, MEPs secured provisions to safeguard citizens’ rights and foster an inclusive digital system by avoiding discrimination against people opting not to use the digital wallet.

The law provides for free so-called qualified electronic signatures for EU wallet users. These will have the same legal standing as a handwritten signature, as well as wallet-to-wallet interactions, to improve the fluidity of digital exchanges.

MEPs have also mandated an open-source wallet to encourage transparency, innovation and to enhance security. 

They also set stringent rules for the registration and oversight of companies involved to ensure accountability and traceability.

Meanwhile, via a privacy dashboard, echoing the data dashboards outlined in the payment services and open finance proposals, users will be able to have full control of their data and will be able to request their data be deleted, as provided for under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Parliament gave its endorsement to the regulation with 335 votes to 190, with 31 abstentions. 

It will now have to be formally endorsed by the EU Council of Ministers to become law.

The legislation is a direct response to the recommendations from the Conference on the Future of Europe, a citizen-led series of debates and discussions that ran from April 2021 to May 2022.

In particular, the legislation aligns with Proposal 35(10) and Proposal 33(5). Proposal 35(10) advocates for the creation of a European common digital identity to streamline cross-border digital transactions and services, underpinned by a robust framework of European standards and guidelines to ensure necessary safeguards. 

Proposal 33(5), meanwhile, underscores the importance of establishing a secure and trustworthy digital environment.

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