On Wednesday, 8 July 2020, the European Commission and the World Bank Group signed electronically a Financial Framework Partnership Agreement, which guides the terms under which the Bank Group will use EU funding for development projects across the world. This is the first international agreement that the Commission signs using its own Qualified Electronic Signature service, EU Sign.
Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for Budget and Administration, said:
The use of electronic signatures is becoming a norm for modern public administrations and I am looking forward to fully implementing it in the Commission’s work processes.
EU Sign was launched 4 years ago as a step towards further digitalisation and increase of the Commission’s capabilities for a paperless environment. It is currently a key technical enabler for the Commission’s Digital Strategy and its applications have greatly advanced as a response to the unprecedented demand for digital transformation triggered by COVID-19.
The service provides the possibility to electronically sign, validate and seal documents and is available to other European institutions, bodies and agencies. It has the same effects as the hand-written signature and benefits from a full legal recognition thanks to compliancy with the eIDAS Regulation. EU Sign can be used in cross-border electronic transactions as it is accepted in all EU Member States. The service is fully secured with encryption technology used to verify the integrity of the signed document and the identity of the signatory.
Since recently, EU Sign offers the capability of using cloud-based qualified digital certificates in order to provide an enhanced user experience to EU staff. The Commission is currently in the process of harmonising the use of EU Sign across all EU institutions and ensuring interoperability.
About electronic signatures in the EU
With the eIDAS Regulation, the EU introduced a single framework for electronic identification and e-signatures (electronic signatures). It promotes interoperability across the 28 EU countries, ensuring that, for example, a document signed in Helsinki can be validated in Lisbon. The eIDAS Regulation establishes a qualification scheme for e-signatures and providers of e-signature services. Qualified e-signature service providers can issue certificates to any citizen or business for the creation of qualified e-signatures, legally equivalent to handwritten signatures across Europe.
8 July 2020