EU makes a step towards requiring biometrics on national ID cards

Tag: News from Europe

The European adoption of biometrics on national ID cards is making steps ahead, if news about an informal agreement about the Proposal on strengthening the security of ID cards between the EU Council Presidency and European Parliament are to be taken seriously.

The Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on strengthening the security of identity cards of Union citizens and of residence documents issued to Union citizens and their family members exercising their right of free movement, COM(2018)212  indeed introduces mandatory biometric national identity cards, which  should include a photo and two fingerprints. Following the Proposal, cards should be issued in a uniform ID-1 format, with a machine-readable zone, following ICAO minimum security standards, a contactless chip, and the issuing member state’s country code.

EU member states should stop issuing non-biometric ID cards two years after the rules are adopted, and old cards would become invalid after 10 years, if they have not already expired.

As the European Parliament recalls, the Proposal aims at strengthening the security in three domains:  identification cards of EU citizens; registration certificates issued to Union citizens residing for more than three months in a host Member State; residence cards issued to family members of Union citizens who are not nationals of a Member State.

On 17 April 2018, the Commission put the regulation forward for adoption by the EU Parliament and Council. An online consultation was launched in spring/summer 2018 to gather feedback from stakeholders. The Committee on Civil Liberties and Home Affairs and the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality of the European Parliament released their opinions on the proposal in fall 2018. On 7 December 2018, the report of the Committee on civil Liberties, Justice and Public Affairs was tabled for plenary in March 2019.