EU and Singapore partner on digital identity

By Chia Jie Lin

When complete, the framework will allow Singaporean citizens and businesses to use their national digital identities in the EU, and vice versa.

Images: Pexels

The European Union (EU) and Singapore will form a joint task force to co-develop electronic ID frameworks that can work across borders, and trust services, like e-signatures. Andrus Ansip, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of the Digital Single Market, and Dr Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State for Singapore, announced the move in a joint statement during the recent Tallinn Digital Summit.

“Online trust is essential for citizens and businesses. We believe that governments need to provide secure frameworks for digital IDs and electronic trust services – essentially ‘identity as a public service’,” they said. “We believe this logic applies cross-border too,” they added.

Currently, the EU’s eIDAS framework for digital identities and trust services allows citizens of member states to carry out secure and seamless cross-border electronic transactions in the EU. “It cuts red tape, it saves money. It just makes everyone's lives easier,” wrote Ansip in a blog post.

Companies and individuals can now use their own national digital identities when they work or reside in another EU country, saving them from the hassle of registering their IDs with local governments. The eIDAS regulation, which came into full effect on September 29, will help EU citizens save over 855,000 hours and businesses more than €11 billion annually, Ansip added.

This joint task force between the EU and Singapore will create similar frameworks that will be interoperable. For instance, they will explore using Singaporean national digital identities for trade and academic exchanges in the EU, and vice versa. The lack of red tape can potentially be a boon for Singaporean companies looking to break into the EU market.

The collaboration comes on the back of Singapore’s efforts to create a national digital identity. Singapore will link national digital identities to epayments and public services like Moments of Life, Dr Puthucheary told GovInsider earlier this year.