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Commission facilitates cross-border use of electronic signatures

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In order to improve the interoperability of electronic signatures and to facilitate their cross border use, initially in the framework of the Services Directive, the European Commission has published a central list with links to national "trusted lists" of certification-service providers issuing qualified certificates.

February 2010


 In the framework of the Services Directive (2006/123/EC), Member States had to establish and publish by 28 December 2009 the so-called "trusted lists" of certification-service providers issuing qualified certificates in accordance with the e-Signature Directive (1999/93/EC). This obligation is part of the implementation measures adopted by Commission Decision 2009/767/EC. It aims at enhancing the cross-border use of electronic signatures.

The national trusted lists make available information about certification-service providers active in the Member States who are entitled to issue certificates that allow citizens and businesses to electronically sign documents. The information provided is necessary for the validation of electronic signatures, which so far has been difficult to find.

This lack of information has in the past undermined trust in and acceptance of e-signatures from other Member States.

In his speech at the 5th Ministerial eGovernment Conference in Malmö, Vice-President of the European Commission Siim Kallas underlined the importance of the trusted lists which he qualified as one of the major steps forward to ensure the interoperability of e-signatures. He expects that even if initiated under the Services Directive, the positive effect of these lists will go well beyond the Directive and enhance the cross-border use of electronic signatures in general.

In order to allow access to the trusted lists of all Member States in an easy manner, the European Commission has published a central list with links to national "trusted lists". This central list has been created by the Directorate General for Informatics under the IDABC-programme in close collaboration with Directorates-General Internal Market and Services and Information Society and Media.

In accordance with the ETSI TS 102 231, the central list is available on a secure web-site in two formats:

For further information: