EU agrees provisional legislative framework for European Digital Identity Wallet

The European Council and representatives of the European Parliament have reached provisional agreement on the legislative framework that will enable the issuance and usage of the EU’s European Digital Identity Wallet that will let EU citizens store their national ID card, driving licence and other digital credentials on their smartphone.

The agreement opens the way for further technical work to finalise the legal text prior to its submission to member state representatives for endorsement, legal review and its formal adoption by the Parliament and Council.

“Under the new law, member states will offer citizens and businesses digital wallets that will be able to link their national digital identities with proof of other personal attributes (eg, driving licence, diplomas, bank account). Citizens will be able to prove their identity and share electronic documents from their digital wallets with a click of a button on their mobile phone,” the European Council explains.

The Council and Parliament initially reached provisional agreement on “some of the main elements of the legislative proposal” at the end of June before “a thorough series of technical meetings” to clarify and finalise aspects of the framework covering e-signatures, the digital identity wallet’s business model, validation mechanisms for verifying a wallet’s validity, the wallet’s open source software components and consistency with issuance schemes.

Key agreements

More specifically, the legislative bodies agreed that:

The wallet will be free to use for natural persons by default, but member states may provide for measures to ensure that the free-of-charge use is limited to non-professional purposes.

The issuance, use and revocation will be free of charge for all natural persons.

Member states shall provide free-of-charge validation mechanisms only to verify the authenticity and validity of the wallet and of the relying parties’ identity.

The application software components will be open source, but member states are granted necessary leeway so that, for justified reasons, specific components other than those installed on user devices may not be disclosed.

Consistency between the wallet as an eID means and the underpinning scheme under which it is issued has been ensured.

“Finally, the revised law clarifies the scope of the qualified web authentication certificates (QWACs), which ensures that users can verify who is behind a website, while preserving the current well-established industry security rules and standards,” the Council says.

The European Council reached agreement on a revised proposal for the legislative framework before presenting it to the European Parliament in December 2022.

EU agrees provisional legislative framework for European Digital Identity Wallet was written by Tom Phillips and published by NFCW.