Council of the EU and European Parliament agree legislation on European Digital Identity Wallets
The EU already regulates cross-border electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the eIDAS Regulation. The Regulation will now be amended to include common legislation on European Digital Identity Wallets for citizens and businesses.
European Digital Identity Wallets will make it easier for people to use both digital services and in-person services. They will make it possible to safely present proof of identity or various permits using a mobile device. The aim is that information from both public authorities and private sector operators could be used via digital wallets. For example, digital wallets could be used to present a driving licence, a professional qualification or a company’s statement of outstanding taxes. Digital wallets would make it possible to present this kind of information electronically anywhere in the EU. They would also be a reliable way to sign documents electronically. The use of European Digital Identity Wallets would be voluntary.
The result of the negotiations is a compromise between the positions of the Council and Parliament, but it fulfils many objectives that are important to Finland. These include the requirement of meeting the highest security and reliability requirements and the requirement that digital wallets be self-sovereign, in other words that people will be able to control how their data is used.
Meeting these obligations will require the development of functional solutions, such as a wallet application, and may also require amendments to national legislation. For example, the Regulation obligates the Member States to ensure that at least one wallet application that meets the requirements of the Regulation is available in their territory. According to current estimates, the Regulation will enter into force in early 2024, and digital wallets will have to be available in all Member States in 2026. The Ministry of Finance will coordinate the fulfilment of these obligations and the related preparatory work in Finland.
National digital identification solution to be developed as part of a European Digital Identity Wallet
Finland has been working on a digital identification solution. The aim was for the solution to be a proof of identity like a passport or identity card that would be used through a mobile phone application.
The original idea for Finland's digital identification solution was that it could later be expanded to meet the requirements for European Digital Identity Wallets. Now that the EU has reached an agreement on digital wallets, the Ministry of Finance has decided to switch focus to developing a European Digital Identity Wallet in order to avoid overlapping work. Instead of developing a separate application for Finland’s digital identification solution, it will now be incorporated into the development of a digital wallet that meets the requirements of the eIDAS Regulation.
Laura Kolinen, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 295 530 403, laura.kolinen(at)gov.fi
Jarkko Levasma, Government Chief Information Officer, tel. +358 295 530 117, jarkko.levasma(at)gov.fi
Katja Väänänen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Head of Unit, tel. +358 295 530 245, katja.vaananen(at)gov.fi