At its today’s sitting, the European Union Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) approved Estonia’s positions regarding the public consultation of the European Commission on the introduction of digital travel documents in the European Union.
According to Deputy Chair of the European Union Affairs Committee Maria Jufereva-Skuratovski, the Committee supports digitalisation of passports and identity cards to facilitate travelling. “I believe that digital travel documents will significantly accelerate the work of the border crossing points, shorten the waiting time of travellers and improve the safety of border control,” she said. “When developing digital documents, special attention has to be paid to their security, the prevention of possible misuse and data protection rules. A digital document must be at least as secure as a physical travel document.”
It was pointed out at the sitting that with a digital travel document, it would be possible to go on board after validation of identity through facial biometrics, and that the digital document also had to be in a mobile app. At first, it will probably be necessary to carry a physical document in addition to a digital travel document, but in the longer term, it will not be necessary any more to carry a passport or other identity document when travelling in the European Union. The possibility of using a physical document must be retained for those whose facial biometrics cannot be read or who do not use a smartphone.
The positions approved by the European Union Affairs Committee set out that the EU-level solution should support global interoperability of digital travel documents and be based on common International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards. The digital travel documents should also be compatible with the European digital identity wallet that is being developed.
According to Estonia’s position, EU countries should implement digital travel documents at the same time or at least recognise the solution to be created, and a sufficient transition period has to be ensured. As a first step, Estonia supports a solution where the data of the digital document are linked to the physical document. Estonia’s positions also underline that it should be possible to create and use a digital travel document to return to the country of citizenship if the physical document has been stolen or lost in a foreign country.
The European Union Affairs Committee decided to support the positions submitted by the Government. It was noted at the sitting of the Committee that the public consultation would be followed by an impact assessment, and after that, it is planned to present a proposal for a Regulation.
At the sitting of the European Union Affairs Committee, Adviser at the Border Guard and Migration Policy Department of the Ministry of the Interior Elen Kraavik gave an overview of the positions of the Government and replied to the questions of the members of the Committee.