European digital identity: Council and Parliament reach a provisional agreement on eID

November 15, 2023
Ash Costello


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Written by Ash Costello and Holly Joseph.

On 8 November 2023, the EU Council Presidency and European parliament representatives reached a provisional agreement on a new framework for a European digital identity (eID).

One of the most important aspects of this new framework is the development of a European digital identity wallet. Citizens and businesses will be able to use digital wallets to link their national digital identities to the verification of other personal characteristics like driver’s licenses, diplomas, or bank accounts.

The wallets will be recognised throughout Europe, removing the need for private identification procedures and unnecessary personal data sharing.

After reaching a provisional agreement in June, technical meetings were held to finalise the legislative proposal. The co-legislators agreed on numerous key components of the digital identity wallet:

  • E-signatures in the wallet will be free of charge for natural persons, although member states may limit free-of-charge use to non-professional uses.
  • The issue, use and revocation of the wallet will be free of charge for all natural persons.
  • Member states are required to provide free validation mechanisms for verifying the authenticity and validity of wallets, as well as the identities of the relying parties.
  • The application software will be open source, although member states may limit the disclosure of specific components to only those installed on user devices.
  • The wallet’s consistency as an eiD method.

Next steps: the details of the political agreement are still being condensed into legal text.  Once the finalised text has been endorsed by the representatives of the Member States (COREPER), it will be subject to a linguistic/level review, and then sent back to the Parliament and the Council for formal adoption.  Following that step, it can be published in the EU’s Official Journal and enter into force.

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