Electronic identification (eID) is one of the tools to ensure secure access to online services and to carry out electronic transactions in a safer way.

Image depicting people interacting in the digital sphere

Secure electronic identification is an important enabler of data protection and the prevention of online fraud. These aspects really matter in areas such as eGovernment, where citizens and businesses need to trust that their data are treated in full respect of existing data protection legislation.

eID can guarantee the unambiguous identification of a person and make it possible to get the service delivered to the person who is really entitled to it. However, the lack of common legal basis prevented Member States from recognising and accepting eIDs issued in other Member States. The insufficient cross-border interoperability of national eIDs prevents citizens and businesses from benefitting fully from the digital single market.

The eIDAS Regulation provides a solution to these issues by ensuring the cross-border mutual recognition of eID means.

The Commission published the technical specifications and reference implementations of the interoperability nodes for the eID mechanisms on 26 November 2015 for the technological infrastructure under Connecting European Facility program (CEF) as open source.

Since 29 September 2015, following the adoption of the implementing acts on cooperation between Member States on eID, on interoperability framework, on assurance levels for eID means and on notification, EU Member States may notify and recognise, on a voluntary basis, national eID means. As of 29 September 2018 the recognition of notified eID will become mandatory.

This means that EU citizens will be able to use the eID means they use at national level also to access public services across borders in other Member States.

A Cooperation Network has been set up as a mechanism for cooperation between Member States in order to achieve interoperability and security of their eID schemes. It provides a forum with regular meetings, where Member States can exchange relevant information, experience and good practice.