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EU digital wallet framework finally adopted for digital ID ‘paradigm shift’

EU digital wallet framework finally adopted for digital ID ‘paradigm shift’

The European Council has formally adopted a new framework for a European Digital Identity Wallets (EUDIWs) that will allow citizens to prove their identity and share electronic ID documents using their mobile phones. In a news release, Mathieu Michel, Belgian Secretary of State for digitization, administrative simplification, privacy protection and building regulation, calls the adoption of the framework “a milestone in our society’s digital transformation.”

“Enabling citizens to have a unique and secure European digital wallet while remaining in full control of their personal data is a key step forward for the EU, which will set a global benchmark in the digital field and enhance security when engaging with online services,” says Michel. “Moreover, by putting citizens at the center, the European digital identity regulation contributes to significantly improving and simplifying access to public services online. Citizens should not have to bear the burden of administrative and institutional complexity.”

The new revisions to the regulation aim for a paradigm shift that makes digital identity more accessible and secure for European businesses and individuals. Per the release, EDIWs will link citizens’ national digital identities with other verified personal attributes (e.g., a driver’s license or bank account), enabling proof of identity and access to online services throughout the EU without having to use private identification methods or share unnecessary data.

According to the law, EU member states must make a digital identity wallet available to its citizens, residents, and businesses, and accept EUDIWs from other member states by 2026, in line with the deadline for full implementation.

Additionally, EUDIWs must provide free-of-charge validation mechanisms to verify the authenticity and validity of the wallet and the relying parties’ identity. Issuance, use and revocation is to be free of charge for all natural persons. The wallet must remain voluntary and safeguards must be put in place to prevent the marginalization of those who opt to not use it. The wallet’s code will be open source, but member states have some leeway to keep certain components not on a user’s device confidential. And there must be consistency between European Digital Identity Wallets as a form of eID and the scheme under which wallets are issued.

The final revised regulation is set to be published in the EU’s Official Journal within weeks. It takes effect 20 days after publication.

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