Connecting Europe success story: The eIDAS 2018 Municipalities Project - making Dutch online services accessible to European citizens with their eID
More and more Europeans are using electronic identification means to access public and private online services in their country. But what happens when someone travels or moves to another European country?
The eIDAS regulation addresses the challenge of cross-border recognition of nationally issued eIDs, enabling Europeans to access online public services across Europe seamlessly.
By 29 September 2018, online public services requiring electronic identification will have to accept the eID schemes which other European countries have 'notified' for cross-border use.
The CEF eID building block supports the Member States and Service providers in recognising foreign eIDs, in line with the mutual recognition principle and technical specifications set by the eIDAS regulation. Businesses are encouraged to also connect to the eIDAS network in order to make EU consumers benefit from secure and easy identification process.
"Our ultimate goal is to facilitate citizens’ access to online services no matter where they are in Europe, in a secure and familiar way."
Alice Vasilescu, IT Project Officer, Connecting Europe Facility (CEF)
What is the eIDAS 2018 Municipalities Project?
The eIDAS 2018 Municipalities Project1 is one of the early implementations of the mutual recognition principle of European eIDs to access public services introduced by the eIDAS regulation. It enables citizens of EU Member States and EEA countries to electronically prove their identity with their nationally issued eID when seeking access to around 300 services in 81 municipalities across the Netherlands. The solution is currently available for Austrian, German and Belgian eID holders, and should progressively be extended to other countries connecting to the eIDAS network.
What are the benefits of the project?
- EU and EEA citizens using online public services in the Netherlands will be able to log in directly with their own trusted national eID.
- Public services are becoming digitally accessible to millions of European residents, students, and seasonal workers², improving user experience and reducing administrative burden.
- The Netherlands is gaining valuable experience in the acceptance of foreign eIDs in preparation for the 2018 mutual recognition obligation set by the eIDAS regulation.
How do the Building Blocks fit in?
CEF eID supports the Member States in developing interoperable electronic identification solutions for citizens across Europe and encourages public and private service providers to connect to the eIDAS network. Currently, the eIDAS 2018 Municipalities Project is reusing solutions developed by Large Scale pilots and will progressively start reusing services offered by CEF eID. The project received funds under the 2014 and 2015 CEF calls for proposals.
How was the eIDAS 2018 Municipalities Project implemented?
Joran Frik, European Affairs Adviser at Connectis, describes the needs of one such municipality. “For example, in the Municipalities of Voorschoten and Wassenaar, 20% of their service requests are made by EU residents.” This high presence of foreign population creates specific demands for online services. Registration and obtaining of a local eID to accomplish administrative procedures due to their relocation is burdensome for the municipalities and the residents: the possibility of using their nationally issued eID would ease the process.
From the beginning, the project team was convinced of the necessity to leverage the European eIDAS legal framework and interoperability infrastructure for cross-border recognition of eID, rather than building a new system from the ground up.
The project was initially built on STORK 2.0 solution (Large Scale Pilot), offering one of the first interoperable eID infrastructure among participating countries to help build a single European electronic identification and authentication area. The project is progressively establishing cross-border connections with the new eIDAS infrastructure, via the Dutch eIDAS node.
Connecting Europe Facility provides support to Member States in implementing their eIDAS node, providing the project teams with guidance, steering, contact points in other countries and information on new developments.
What are the results?
Preparing to become eIDAS compliant will broaden access to Dutch public services in an efficient, cost-effective way. Administrative tasks which would have once required a physical visit or paper work from EU and EEA residents will be accessible with a simple digital process reusing their nationally issued eID – benefiting public services, businesses and citizens.
Public services of the participating Dutch municipalities are now digitally accessible to a certain number of eID holders (notably from Austria, Belgium, Portugal, Sweden, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, and Finland) and will be accessible to all European eIDs supported by the eIDAS network as of September 2018. Some EU and EEA citizens can now log in directly to Dutch online services with their own trusted eID, instead of requesting a Dutch DigiD. Access to services is now quicker and more convenient, with a consistent user experience.
Joran explains that the development of the access to the Dutch online public services by owners of foreign eID is part of the broader goal of the Netherlands to pursue the digitisation of public services. He says, “We’re not just trying to allow foreign citizens to login using their own eID, but we’re also working to digitise the municipalities’ public service offering as a whole – making it easier for people to use their services.”
"We’re not just trying to allow foreign citizens to login using their own eID, but we’re also working to digitise the municipalities’ public service offering as a whole – making it easier for people to use their services."
Joran Frik, European Affairs Adviser, Connectis
A second eIDAS Municipalities project is now underway, which Joran describes as indication of the success of the first project: “We’re connecting another set of municipalities, which shows that the project is perceived to have been successful – other municipalities are eager to join in.”
Electronic identification by national citizens and residents also benefits businesses that can offer secured and easy access to their services. Through the Connecting Europe Facility, funding is available for businesses that want to integrate eID to their service and leverage the eIDAS infrastructure. For the private sector, electronic identification notably reduces the risk of identity fraud and cuts cost linked to maintenance of front office.
Dutch business owner Leon van Meel said, “Being able to access a wide range of public services at home in the Netherlands but also in a large number of European countries with a single secure login would really help me doing business and supporting customers abroad.”
CEF is actively facilitating the interaction between the Member States and businesses to increase the uptake of eID services. IT Project Officer at Connecting Europe Facility, Alice Vasilescu says, “We are helping the Member States reaching out the private sector and to understand their requirements for different eID use cases – like being able to book a flight ticket online and meet border controls requirements based on eID information or open a bank account online.”
Learn more about how the building blocks could help your project:
 In 2015, there were a little fewer than 11,3 million EU-28 movers.
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