New rules for biometric EU identity and residence cards given final approval

The European Union’s Council has approved new rules for biometric fingerprint and photo security features of identity and residence cards, as proposed by the European Commission.

The new rules require the paper ID cards used by some national authorities, and which New Europe reports are easily falsified for use by terrorists and other criminals, to be replaced with effective minimum security standards. The rules are intended to support the region’s free movement rules, which enable EU citizens to live in any other EU country for up to three months with no requirement other than holding a valid identity card or passport. The new rules also apply to residence cards for third-country family members of European citizens.

The initial proposal was made just over a year ago, and passed the penultimate approval step when it passed a vote in the European Parliament in April.

The biometric features of European ID cards will be stored on a contactless chip, making them similar in security to passports.

The identification industry and eu-LISA have also been working on expediting border crossings for vehicles and pedestrians with practical biometric workflow solutions. The Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights recently called for facial recognition to be strictly regulated to preserve freedom of assembly.

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