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Towards a harmonisation of identity documents!

Following the Commission's proposal to harmonise the security features of identity cards and residence permits and permits issued by the Member States, EDP delegate general and also Rapporteur for the European Parliament Gérard Deprez welcomes the proposal and explains that: "There is no question of replacing national identity cards by a European card, nor of obliging Member States that do not issue one to issue one!"

The Belgian MEP specifies that: "Currently, 26/28 EU Member States issue one to their citizens. But there are over 250 different versions of identity cards or residence permits for which security levels vary considerably, some do not even have a chip, which increases the risk of forgery and document fraud. However, all measures taken by the EU in recent years in order to enhance and strengthen the management of external borders require secure identity and travel documents."

Concerning a recent report indicating that more than 70% of false documents in the EU are in fact European documents, he stresses that: "The mandatory addition of biometric identifiers to identity cards from the age of 12 (two fingerprints and a facial image) will make documents more reliable and secure by ensuring that the person presenting the identity document is the legitimate holder".

However, he states that : "It would be necessary to clarify that this Regulation does not allow the creation of a European biometric database and does not provide any legal basis for establishing one at national level.

It will also be necessary to add some additional guarantees on the way in which these biometric data are collected and more particularly in the case of children or vulnerable persons. The mandatory integration of biometric data must be implemented with specific safeguards, such as those in place for passports and other travel documents and residence permits."

He concludes that: "The objective of this proposal is not only the fight against document forgery and fraud. It is also and above all to facilitate the exercise of the right to freedom of movement within the EU by EU citizens and their family while increasing the reliability and acceptance of their documents in cross-border situations.

EU citizens are increasingly moving from a EU country to another. More than 15 million of them reside and more than 11 million work in a Member State other than the country of which they are citizen."


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