Skip to main content
Shaping Europe’s digital future

eIDAS Regulation

The eIDAS regulation facilitates secure cross-border transactions by establishing a framework for digital identity and authentication. It aims to create confidence in electronic interactions and promote seamless digital services in the EU.

    People using a computer in a trusted way

The Regulation on electronic identification and trust services was a milestone towards creating a predictable regulatory environment. Its primary objective was to instill confidence in electronic transactions across borders, while enhancing the effectiveness of online services and e-commerce platforms. This regulation specifically targets electronic identification (eID) and trust service providers, aiming to dismantle existing barriers hindering seamless use of trust services and eID usage across EU member states.

One of the pivotal aspects of the eIDAS Regulation was the establishment of mutual recognition for eIDs issued by EU countries, provided they meet the specified regulatory criteria and have been duly notified to the Commission. This recognition enables secure electronic transactions by ensuring that an eID issued in one member state is valid and acknowledged in all others. Notably, mutual recognition becomes compulsory for eIDs meeting certain assurance levels, thereby streamlining cross-border interactions and bolstering trust in online services.

The eIDAS Regulation provides for the interoperability of national eID schemes among EU member states. This requires the development of a technology-neutral framework that does not favour any particular technical solution for eID implementation. Procedural and technical standards have been set to facilitate cooperation among EU countries, aimed at ensuring the seamless exchange of electronic identification data and fostering a cohesive digital ecosystem across the EU.

At the same time, eIDAS created a level playing field for a number of trusted services, that have become indispensable in todays digital value chains: Electronic Registered Delivery Services (ERDS). These ensure secure and reliable delivery of electronic messages, data, or documents and provide evidence of the time of sending, receipt, and content integrity.

Natural persons can also use certificates for electronic signatures and express consent. Similar to electronic seals, these certificates serve to verify data integrity and origin, making them usable for automated transactions. Additionally, Electronic Time Stamping provides trusted timestamps, which can be beneficial for legal purposes, archiving, and maintaining data integrity. Website Authentication Certificates further verify the origin of websites and ensure secure communication between the browser and the website.

The notion of ‘qualified’ trust services is also introduced in the eIDAS regulation. These services must comply with legal requirements and be recognized across EU Member States. In 2021, the Commission proposed new qualified trust services for electronic archiving, electronic ledgers, and the management of remote signatures and seals. Simultaneously, eIDAS established a European internal market for these qualified trust services, ensuring that they function seamlessly across borders and hold the same legal status as their traditional paper-based equivalents.

In line with the eIDAS Regulation, the Commission has enacted a series of measures to delineate procedural arrangements, technical specifications, and operational requirements for electronic identification and trust services. These encompass specifications for the EU trust mark, technical requirements for assurance levels of eID means, formats of trusted lists, and procedures for notification of eID schemes. Such comprehensive guidelines are instrumental in promoting harmonization and interoperability across diverse national eID systems within the EU.

Benefits of eIDAS

With eIDAS, the EU has managed to lay down the right foundations and a clear legal framework for people, companies and public administrations to safely access services and carry out transactions online. Indeed, rolling out eIDAS means higher security and more convenience for any online activity such submitting tax declarations, enrolling in a foreign university, setting up a business in another Member State, bidding to online calls for tenders. In the future uses will be extend to authenticating to internet payments and remotely opening a bank account.

eIDAS brings benefits to European businesses, citizens and government services. Download the infographics below to explore how eIDAS can benefit you.

Reviewing the eIDAS regulation

Despite its benefits, the eIDAS framework faced challenges, including discrepancies between Member States in the development and interoperability of national electronic identification schemes. In July 2020, the Commission opened a consultation to collect feedback on drivers and barriers to the development and uptake of eID trust services in the EU.

The consultation results include insights from various stakeholders such as businesses, academic institutions, public authorities, and associations. They addressed topics like the nature of digital identity, the need for multiple digital identities, extending the use of digital identification to the private sector, enhancing the eIDAS framework, harmonizing certifications and security requirements, expanding cross-border frameworks for trusted digital identities, and addressing legal harmonization issues related to e-signatures. Overall, stakeholders expressed support for measures to improve the effectiveness, accessibility, and trustworthiness of digital identities across Europe.

To address these shortcomings, in 2021 the Commission proposed a new Regulation establishing a framework for a European Digital Identity and amending the eIDAS regulation.

Related Content

Big Picture

Trust Services

The EU has introduced rules to strengthen trust services and ensure our online activity is secure across the EU.

Dig deeper

Discover eIDAS

Take advantage of cross-border business opportunities to increase the efficiency and security of your business and improve user experience.

Learn about eIDAS

The eIDAS knowledge and learning programme provides information and assistance for businesses on the use of electronic identification (eID) and trust services.

See Also

EU Trusted Lists

Member States have the obligation to establish, maintain and publish trusted lists of qualified trust service providers and the services provided by them.

EU trust mark

The EU trust mark tells users that they can trust a certain service online to carry out their online transactions in a safe, convenient and secure way.