Member states remain divided over methods of ensuring that electronic identification systems for cross-border public services are secure. Meeting for the Telecoms Council, on 20 December 2012, to debate the draft regulation on the use of e-signatures and e-identification within the EU, the ministers failed to agree on this question.

While certain member states are defending the inclusion within the text of a harmonised definition of minimum security levels in e-identification systems, others want to go further and recommend the application of the mutual recognition' principle.

These are different approaches, but nonetheless they have the same objective: to apply the principle of mutual recognition between EU member states to e-identification systems for cross-border public services, as provided for in the draft regulation.

Published by the European Commission on 4 June 2012, the aim of the draft text is to allow European citizens and businesses to use their national e-identification systems to access different online public services in other member states. According to this principle, member states should recognise and accept all e-identification systems that have been officially notified to the Commission by other member states to access trans-national public services, when such identification is necessary.

On the other hand, the Commission text does not oblige member states to notify an e-identification scheme, or introduce this scheme. Equally, for security measures, no minimum requirements are foreseen.

Yet this question is particularly important in the sense that the application of the principle of mutual recognition is closely linked to member states' confidence. At the moment, the security levels of different e-identification systems vary considerably from one member state to another.


While ministers want to unanimously guarantee equal...

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