European digital identity on the agenda at international high level conference
European digital identity and joint identification solutions were topics of discussion at the Coalition of the Willing virtual meeting arranged by the Netherlands on Thursday 27 May 2021. Finnish Minister of Local Government Sirpa Paatero spoke at the meeting about developing a cross-border digital identity for individuals and European preparatory work to date.
A common format for reliably and securely identifying individuals will be needed in Europe as digital services increase and digitalisation progresses in all aspects of life. A common identification solution would help individuals access digital services and support service providers, who could verify the authenticity of client personal data. Identification solutions are currently being developed in several European countries.
In her speech Minister Paatero stressed the growing need for cross-border identification and equitable conditions for citizens to use digital services and the digital identity solutions of the future. Concerns were also raised that European digital identification solutions could be left behind if joint development work is not accelerated.
With respect to preparatory work already completed, the Minister’s speech highlighted a proposal of the joint working group of coalition countries favouring solutions based on self-sovereign identity. Combined with digital wallets conveying personal data and other verified information, these solutions could enable citizens to better manage their own personal data.
“I do believe that our own European solution would support digital sovereignty in Europe. It would also benefit our citizens in their everyday lives in an ever-enlarging digital society. With our own solution we could ensure that the identity solution will be secure and trustworthy enough, and will respect European values,” Minister Paatero observed in her speech.
The development of digital identity in Finland centres on a project led by the Ministry of Finance that seeks to create equitable conditions and opportunities for everyone accessing public services to present officially confirmed identity details in digital form. The project will enable electronic identification of people from Finland in the services of other EU Member States while accommodating ongoing joint European development work.
Besides digital identity, the meeting discussed such topics as artificial intelligence, human-centred digital services, and cross-border movements of information and data. Meeting attendees came from Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Portugal.
Juhani Korhonen, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Finance, tel. +358 29 553 0234, juhani.korhonen(at)vm.fi
Kimmo Mäkinen, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 29 553 0930, kimmo.makinen(at)vm.fi
Valtteri Aaltonen, Special Adviser to the Minister of Local Government, tel. +358 29 553 0399, valtteri.aaltonen(at)vm.fi