Electronic Identification and Trust Services (eIDAS) Regulation Nears Completion

Written by Hans Graux on , in category Rules & regulations

The proposal for an EU Regulation on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market was adopted by the European Commission in June 2012 and a consensus position has now been reached on the proposal between the EU’s Commission, Parliament and Council. The Regulation’s publication in the Official Journal before the May 2014 elections seems imminent.

As discussed in time.lex’s previous newsletter, the proposal for a Regulation on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market (also sometimes referred to as the e-IDAS Regulation - electronic IDentification and Authentication Services), was adopted by the European Commission in June 2012. Since then the proposal has wound its way through the EU Parliament, with several amendments being made to the Commission’s original proposal, and, following the normal EU legislative process, on 28 February 2014 the proposal also eventually received the blessing of the Council.

This new step bodes well for the proposal that will replace, modernise and expand the existing European rules in relation to electronic signatures. It creates a legal framework to support the EU-wide recognition of eIDs used by the Member States (such as the Belgian eID), and supports new services such as electronic seals, time stamping and electronic registered delivery.

Given the consensus that has now been achieved between the Commission, the Parliament and the Council, the Regulation should be expected to be finalised and published before the forthcoming EU Parliamentary elections in May. This deadline has been looming over the proposal since its outset as the intervention of the elections would mean re-booting much of the legislative work achieved to date and cause significant delays to a proposal that could create significant benefits for an innovative sector.

All complete?

The consensus between representatives of the European Parliament, Commission and Council on the final elements of this proposal implies that the basic legal legwork has now been done. While minor technical corrections are still possible, in principle the Regulation’s publication should now be expected in the Official Journal before the upcoming elections.

However this situation does not imply that the legislative work is entirely complete. Secondary legislation (delegated and/or implementing acts) will still be needed to introduce important technical details, such as the processes to be followed for notifying eIDs to the Commission, or setting the technical standards that meet the requirements of the legislation. This part of the legal work is still ongoing, and may still take quite a bit of time. The remaining work can however be done in a step-by-step process, with the framework for more mature and established types of services being completed prior to the more contentious ones.

Entry into force

The Regulation notes that it will enter into force on the twentieth day after its publication in the Official Journal (i.e. as of that date the next implementation steps may be taken), and that it would apply as from 1 July 2016 (i.e. as of that date the Regulation would affect the targeted services, and competing national legislation – such as national laws on electronic signatures and time stamping – would automatically be replaced by the EU-level legislation).

Hans Graux comments:

“The adoption of a common position on the e-IDAS Regulation is an exciting step in a process that has taken a long time. time.lex has been fortunate to have been able to follow this process closely and looks forward to assisting the Commission and its clients further in the completion of this modernisation project.”

For further information on this legal development please contact Hans Graux at (hans.graux@timelex.eu).

This publication does not necessarily deal with every important topic or cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals and is not designed to provide legal or other advice.