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The new legislative proposal for electronic identification and eSignatures

The new legislative proposal for electronic identification and eSignatures

© European Union, 1995-2012

For Internet users and businesses electronic authentification technologies, such as eIDs and eSignatures, are essential to guareente secure online transactions and to protect data privacy. The Digital Agenda for Europe has foreseen under the Digital Single Market actions the revision of the existing eSignature Directive (Directive 1999/93/EC) given the fact that there is no comprehensive EU cross-border framework for secure and trustworthy online transactions that encompasses electronic identification, authentication and signatures.

Thus in June 2012 the European Commission published its enhanced proposal for a Regulation on “electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market” to enable cross-border electronic authentification services in the EU, to cover the mutual recognition and acceptance at EU level of notified electronic identification schemes and other essential electronic trust services. The proposal has been supported by several EU studies on the subject (see below) and by results from different large scale pilots projects co-funded under the Competitiveness & Innovation Programme (CIP).

For instance, a recent study from the EC provides a good snapshot on the legal, technical and trust components required to support the proposed EU framework.

The related EP file is 2012/0146(COD): The Committee report tabled for plenary A7-0365/2013  is awaiting 1st reading/single reading.

The European Council adopted conclusions on the Digital Agenda for Europe at its meeting on 24 and 25 October 2013, providing guidance towards the completion of the Digital Single Market by 2015, highlighting that  this proposal be adopted by the end of this Legislative term.

EU Legislation

Legislative overview / General information

Current EC proposal to be disscussed in first reading in the EP.

Current main EU eSignature legislation in place and a report which reviews on its implementation

EU Institutions

European Parliament

European Commission



  • OPINION  of the  European Economic and Social Committee  on the EC proposal

Stakeholder positions

  • The EC launched a public consultation in 2011: The European Commission received more than 400 contributions from a wide range of actors, including Member States, EU and national organisations, regional and local authorities, business and professional federations, individual companies, NGOs, and many European citizens. In the following document there is a summary of these contributions
  • CCBE position on electronic identification,  authentication and signatures, 2011, 4 Pag: In this submission, the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) responds to the public consultation launched by the Commission. But instead of responding to the specific questions, the CCBE comments on certain more general issues.
  • 2015 – a connected and diversified Europe: eIDM vision paper, RAND, 2009 45 Pag: This paper is written to determine what demands and requirements there may be for a pan-European eIDM (electronic identity management) solution in 2015 and which services are likely to be developed based on this infrastructure.
  • 12th Edition of the Conference EPFE, see: Memorandum 13 points: see the end of this web page for a summary on the outcomes
  • Electronic Signatures as an Obstacle for Cross-Border E-Procurement in Europe: Lessons from the PROCURE-project, Institut für Informationsmanagement Bremen GmbH, 2009, 32  Pag : While eprocurement works on national levels, cross-border eprocurement in Europe does not. This is mainly due to lacking technical interoperability and legal harmonisation in particular concerning the use of e-signatures. By a comparative study of the different legal provisions in the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Spain and Sweden this article provides an overview of the current state-of-play and makes suggestions on how to overcome the remaining obstacles to pan-European e-rocurement.
  • Results from a stakeholder workshop on the issue that took place under the Digital Agenda Asembly 2011 ( see the Summary report of the workshop and thePresentations).

International organisations


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