Today, the European Parliament voted on a new Regulation, which will strengthen the security of identity cards and residence documents throughout the European Union. The weak security features of ID cards in some Member States, still issuing paper ID cards, represent a serious security risk, as they can easily be falsified and could be used by terrorists and other criminals to enter in the EU. The Regulation will introduce minimum common security standards making them secure and reliable.
Welcoming this vote, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “In the future, all ID cards and residence documents issued in the EU should have the same minimum security standards. This will help us detect and prevent terrorists and criminals from using forged ID cards and from crossing our borders, whilst safeguarding the rights and freedoms of our citizens, including their mobility."
Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Věra Jourová said: "ID cards with stronger security features will allow citizens to travel more smoothly across the EU. It will also guarantee that the ID documents of all countries have the same strong security features, closing any loophole or weak link that terrorists and other criminals could exploit."
Security features of ID cards will be aligned with those of passports, as both types of travel documents will now contain a highly secure contactless chip with the holder's photo and fingerprints. Member States will start to issue the new ID cards in two years. ID cards currently in circulation that do not conform to the new standards will have to be replaced within five or ten years, depending on their security level. There will be an exception for ID cards whose holders are over 70 years of age.
The new rules do not oblige Member States to issue ID cards: they will continue to decide whether to make them voluntary or obligatory or not to issue ID cards at all. Member States can maintain their national design features and e-government services. However, all new ID cards will have to comply with the new security standards.
The proposal still needs to be finally adopted by the Council.
On 17 April 2018, the Commission proposed, as part of its actions way towards a genuine and effective Security Union, to improve the security features of EU citizens' identity cards and non-EU family members' residence cards.
With an estimated 80 million Europeans currently having non-machine readable ID cards without biometric identifiers, the aim of the proposal is to curb the use of fraudulent documents that can also be used by terrorists and criminals to enter the EU from non-EU countries.
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