Germany, the Netherlands and Austria have successfully connected their electronic identification and authentication infrastructure, making it possible to use Austrian and German eID to access Dutch online public services. Specific examples include an agricultural portal, handling traffic fines and services delivered by municipalities. The endeavour was carried out within the framework of the Citizen Lifecycle Pilot of the e-SENS project, co-financed by the EU.
Recognition and acceptance of eID tokens issued by EU Member States reflects one of the main ambitions of the European Union – enabling the internal European market. This is now legally possible through the eIDAS Regulation and its implementing decisions which provide the necessary rules and a legal framework. The eIDAS Regulation requires EU Member States to recognise and accept any eID scheme issued in another Member State which has been notified to the Commission. The notification of national eID schemes is voluntary, but it is a mandatory condition for such schemes to be acceptable across borders.
eIDAS implementation has been supported by the piloting experiences of Member States inside e-SENS. The web interface demonstrating the usage of the Austrian and German eID based on the CEF eID software to access the Dutch compliant infrastructure is now available. By clicking on this link German and Austrian eID means can be used to log on to the Dutch DEMO portal.
The now developed eIDAS connection points use pre-defined language and standards, the eIDAS protocol, in order to allow the huge variety of national systems to speak to each other and exchange authentication messages. The eIDAS network of national eIDAS nodes is a crucial element to make the recognition of nationally issued eID across borders possible.
As a next step, agencies of the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice (CJIB / Centraal Justitie Incasso Bureau) and Austria will connect their portals via the national identification and authentication infrastructures to the compliant eIDAS nodes and thus to the eIDAS schemes in other Member States. In this way the CJIB portal will grant foreign citizens access to real services in a simple manner. By just using their own national eID means!
The ultimate goal is to offer the possibility to EU citizens to use their national eID in other EU countries when accessing public and private services online. As stated in the eIDAS regulation, the mandatory mutual recognition of electronic identities will apply from mid-2018. Other European countries are now working on connecting Europe via cross-border eID. Spain is an example of another Member State already moving forward to achieve interconnection in compliance with eIDAS.
Both e-SENS and CEF eID will continue to support the testing and development of eIDAS-compliant infrastructures within EU Member States. The CEF eID conformance testing service is provided by the European Commission's Directorate General for Informatics (DIGIT) to support further Member States in the deployment of the eIDAS node.