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Is European Identity Card Initiative Weakening Trust in European Union?

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The European Union President Ursula von der Leyen during the State of the  Union Address emphasized Strengthening European Union. She stated that the European Union needs to move forward towards digitalization and focus on data, technology, and infrastructure. She announced that the European Commission “will soon propose a secure European e-identity ” to address the technology area.

The identity allows an entity (citizen, Business, administration) to be distinguished from any other. European citizens use 130 different Accounts to access 130 different online services. EU-wide e-ID can be a massive step towards the European identity, especially for cross-border security. This may lead to a new economic boom after the pandemic market is expected to grow in the digital economy. This is similar to Brexit, where conservatives might oppose this move as a threat to national sovereignty. The Online European Digital Identity Roundtable took place on September 24 , where it was concluded that the eIDAS regulation ‘Electronic Identification, Authentication and Trust Services regulation in the EU’ has allowed the EU Member States to progress in the field of digital identity and trust services; however, it needs to adapt to the new needs of the EU citizens.

European E-Identity cards will increase the individual social services benefits by separating them from refugees. This concept will boost the economy by the promotion of legal nationals’ prioritize for employment opportunities. Unlike in many other countries, Estonian has a state-issued digital identity irrespective of their location. E identity card can reduce the documents workload by merging legal travel ID for European citizens traveling within the EU, national health insurance card, proof of identification when logging into bank accounts, for digital signatures, for i-Voting, to check medical records, submit tax claims, to use e-Prescriptions. Despite the enormous benefits, it will encourage cyber-attacks, the hacker can access accounts and information by replicating the card as it happens with the Credit cards. 

Conservative Backlash

Conservatives always look upon European Union as a Giant structure that taking away their rights of self-governance and issuing this E-Card, not as National but Multinational, will, in the long run, weaken the system of the European Union, and at worst, will empower those Eurosceptic forces which can bring the whole structure down. The treaties that gave the European Union the conferral power cannot override National sovereignty without National consent by leaders and citizens. The Brexit crisis taught us the lesson that we must act in such a way that the bond between Union and Nation will strengthen.

Costs and benefits

The infrastructure for making and maintaining An Electronic Identity is expensive. Moreover, it is not only the costs of the system Components that count but also the organizational costs such as card issuance and enrolment of the Cardholder. This mega step required massive amounts of funds, which seems unrealistic after the coronavirus hit the economy.

Policy Options

As I stated, the problems cannot be solved immediately but need a pathway that’s why I suggest the Estonia model where Estonia has done issuing Electronic Digital Identity card. This is because if people are not ready for the Strong European Union, which we have seen in the voting turnout of the Recent European Parliament Election, we need to slow up the speed. Instead of alienating National interest, we must work in the Nations Hierarchy where these multinational integration policies implement at the National Level first than Similar cultural countries level (Linguistic basis). After winning the confidence, the European Union can imply not only this Electronic Digital Electronic Identity card but other crucial policies like permanent abolishment of borders within the European Union, The European Union Government and the European Army as an alternative to the National Atlantic Treaty Organization, which can deal with the external threat especially from Russia and Turkey where Russian annexation of Crimea revealed their plans for Europe and Turkey aggression towards Revival of Ottoman Empire threatening peace in Balkan region. 

Recommendations

As I mention in Policy Options, The European Union must be cautious about taking Bug steps which can directly or indirectly result in corporatization of National sovereignty because after the European Refugee Crisis and This pandemic accelerate the rise of populist political parties like Alternative for Deutschland in Germany who are well known from their Eurosceptic views. The three Steps which I recommend are

Nations Hierarchy

Any policy that can disturb the competence borders established by Treaties those policies must be applied at the National level first, which can convince the majority by building up a Conesus in favor of implementing those policies at the National level. By doing so, the European Union policies will find legitimacy and give the green light towards a stronger European Union.

Democratization Of Europe

This Electronic ID card can be revolutionary for the development of a common European identity. However, to accomplish it, the European Union need to work upon winning the trust of their citizens by democratizing the structure where citizens can elect President directly as the United States electoral system provides by making some rectification we can merge all 27 different elections with One Multinational European Election which can strengthen Democratic values Simultaneously push forward the Goal of European Government. To achieve this, a committee can be established to evaluate all President and prime minister roles and establish an advisory Commission across all European states, making European Union accountable and strengthening the democratic values.

Conservative Solution

Despite the European Citizen initiative, the success is limited due to complicated procedures. This model needs an upgrade that can only be secured when citizens will see themselves as European citizens. First, this European Union needs to establish a bonding between National citizens and Union through various policies. The Erasmus scholarship has shown great success and can achieve better if we expand the scale’s size. If citizens engage with other cultures that they traditionally hold an understanding contrary to their reality, they can pace the goal towards a European identity, which can be a great solution for Conservatives. Federal states concept can come into account instead of treaties because every citizen wants someone accountable, and the federal-state concept before transforming itself in Union can give enough time for citizens to enter in a Strong European Union.

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