Better safety to curb ID card fraud

Gerard Deprez

Common security features for EU identity documents to reduce identity fraud were last Tuesday agreed by Civil Liberties Committee MEPs, EP press service reported. Currently the security features in ID cards, as well as residence documents issued to EU nationals and/or their family members, vary significantly across EU countries.

MEPs proposed tackling this issue by setting common minimum security features across the EU for ID cards, making a facial image stored on a chip in the card mandatory for citizens' ID cards, and phasing out previous formats of ID cards within eight years. Only Member States already issuing ID cards to their nationals would be affected by the new rules. The measures would not make it compulsory to own an ID card or oblige Member States to introduce ID cards.

“The purpose of this proposal is not only to fight against document fraud but also, and above all, to facilitate the exercise of the right to move freely within the EU by making ID documents in the EU more reliable and more widely accepted. In addition to their national identity, citizens have what could be called a “European citizenship” that gives them protection and rights. That is why I proposed in my report to make all ID cards blue and to include the EU flag on cards,” rapporteur Gerard Deprez (ALDE, BE) said.

Currently, there are at least 86 different versions of identity cards and 181 types of residence documents in circulation in the EU. Of twenty-six Member States that issue ID cards to their nationals, identity card ownership is compulsory in 15 Member States. The total number of people detected with fraudulent documents, including ID cards, either entering or exiting the EU increased by around 16% from 2013 to 2015.

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