The First Step Towards a More Digital and Cohesive EU


September 29th 2018 the European Union’s new eIDAS Regulation became effective. The regulation will pave the way for EU/EEA citizens to use digital self-service solutions across the EU. This will help the EU become more digital and cohesive.

The eIDAS Regulation means that EU citizens will be able to use their national eID (electronic identification) to log into another EU country’s digital self-service solutions. In the long term, the objective is for citizens to actually use the digital solution in any EU country. This may be relevant ex. when a citizen wants to work or study in another EU Member State. Conversely, employees processing cases for foreign citizens may be able to process more effectively.

Work in relation to the regulation has been ongoing for a long time in various EU Member States, including Denmark. In Denmark, the Agency for Digitisation has focused on developing a so-called eID gateway; a technical solution that will communicate with the other European gateways and digital self-service solutions.

Several public authorities in Denmark have been involved in the process and have prepared their own solutions for foreign citizens.

“We’re extremely pleased with the Danish gateway we have put together. It allows us to offer EU citizens a simple digital self-service solution to communicate with Danish authorities, and for the authorities the gateway helps to provide greater certainty that the identity of a foreign citizen is correct.”

Adam Lebech, Deputy Director-General of the Agency for Digitisation

When the German citizen attempts to log into a Danish digital self-service solution with his or her German eID, the user will be sent to the Danish eID gateway from where the user must select his or her country of origin, i.e. Germany. Subsequently, the Danish eID gateway will redirect the user to the German eID gateway, from where the German user can log on with his or her German eID. If the eID is correct, a message will be sent back to the Danish eID gateway and the Danish digital self-service solution will be notified that the German user can be granted access to the solution.

The figure shows a log-in flow for a German citizen.

The developments will be gradual

Even though the regulation has entered into force, the goal isn’t reached yet. The technical foundation is there, but more development is needed. Today, the number of functions is limited. Strong focus on security entails long and comprehensive processes in the EU, for example with regards to approving different countries’ eIDs.

At the moment, only German eIDs have been approved, which means that only Germans would potentially be able to use other countries’ digital self-service solutions. In the years to come, the EU Member States will connect their eIDs one by one, as the eIDs are approved by the EU.

In Denmark, a new NemID solution, called MitID, is getting developed. Therefore the Danes have to use MitID as their eID when they want to access a digital self-service solution in another country. However, MitID will not be launched until 2021, but Danes may not have to wait this long before they can benefit from the new regulation.

“We are collaborating at Nordic level to set up an agreement with Sweden, among others, enabling the use of our eIDs in their solutions, and vice versa. In addition to collaboration in the EU, there is an obvious advantage in collaborating closely with countries that are close to us, and whose citizens will feel the benefits of the new regulation.”

Adam Lebech, Deputy Director-General of the Agency for Digitisation


More solutions will be connected, both to the Danish eID gateway and eID gateways in the other EU Member States. Moreover, an increasing number of EU Member States will have their national electronic identification schemes approved through procedures of notification. In this way, eID gateways in the EU will be expanded through technical cooperation within the EU and through an ever-increasing number of solutions and users in the years to come.

The figure shows the trend in eID gateways in the EU in coming years.