New EU ID cards to have biometric chip
12 March 2019 16:08 GMT

The EU council has agreed that all new EU ID cards will come with a chip containing a facial image and two fingerprints of the holder.

The mandatory requirement forms part of a new preliminary agreement reached between MEPs from the Civil Liberties Committee and the EU Council, to increase security and reduce instances of fraud.

The move was backed by 30 votes in favour, 20 against and 2 abstentions, reported Newsbook.

The publication noted that it is hoped the move will streamline the security features provided in both ID Cards and in residence documents, reducing the chances of them being copied or identities being stolen.

It is understood that there are around 86 versions of ID cards in circulation around the EU, along with 181 residence documents. Equally, the cases of people being caught with fraudulent paperwork had risen to 16% between 2013 and 2015.

The new agreement would also see the phasing out of these previous ID cards over the next decade, along with the removal of non-machine readable versions in the next five years. The new ID cards will also include the country code of the member state issuing them. This would be identified by the national flag sat inside the EU flag.

Earlier this week, Statewatch and four other NGOs called on MEPs in the European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee to oppose the requirement for "mandatory fingeprinting" in a proposed EU Regulation on identity cards and travel documents.

In a letter, the groups said:"On 11 March your committee is due to vote on the proposal for a Regulation on strengthening the security of identity cards of Union citizens and of residence documents issued to Union citizens and their family members exercising their right of free movement (procedure 2018/0104).

We call on you to vote against this text to oppose the requirement that EU citizens be subjected to mandatory fingerprinting for national identity cards. This measure is a disproportionate breach of the rights to privacy and data protection and must be rejected".

The groups said "The proposed Regulation will unjustifiably breach the privacy and data protection rights of hundreds of millions of EU citizens. We firmly oppose the idea that free movement can only be guaranteed through the use of biometric identification technologies and call on you to do the same".