Matt Atlas

EU Plans Digital Wallet For IDs And Payments

Renting a car abroad, opening a bank account or requesting medical treatment could be easier in the future. The European Commission (EC) today presented a proposal for a so-called digital wallet to enable people to easily use electronic documents throughout the European Union. The Commission claims that the digital identity will be resistant to data misuse, which some critics fear.

The EU executive is responding with a proposal to the fact that during the covid pandemic, a large part of life moved to the digital environment. In addition, similar digital wallets have already been introduced by institutions or companies within individual member states.

“Europe’s digital identity will allow us to do what we do at home in any Member State, without any additional costs and with fewer obstacles,” Commission Vice-President Margrethe Vestager said today.

The draft regulation obliges Member States to provide a digital identity to anyone who requests it. They will be able to have documents that people have carried in their wallets so far. Large internet platforms will be required to accept digital wallets.

According to the commission, some form of digital identity is currently used by people in 14 EU countries, including the Czech Republic. Up to 60 percent of the Union’s population has access to it, but according to Brussels, its use is limited and sometimes unnecessarily complicated, which should improve the common system.

“This will also benefit large and small European companies that will be able to offer a new range of services,” said Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton.

Some privacy advocates are concerned about the theft of sensitive data or the loss of control over their personal information in connection with digital identities. According to Vestager, the European digital wallet will count on the highest level of security and people will have an overview of what data they provide to whom.

The proposal will be negotiated by the Member States and the European Parliament in the second half of the year, and is expected to be approved no later than next year.