Last Monday, the European Commission presented a new proposal for a regulation (on electronic identification and trusted services for electronic transactions in the internal market) that would lead to more security of electronic transactions. The aim is to enable European citizens to use their own national electronic IDs in order to access public services in other Member States that require the use of e-IDs. As a result, the electronic signatures and related trust services will need to have similar legal status in the EU and may grow in importance (facilitating also eProcurement).
One has to wonder, however, whether these ambitious goals will be reached since the European Commission does not intend to force any Member State to introduce a new e-ID system, nor to join into the European recognition of national e-IDs, neither will it lead to an introduction of a European e-ID. (Digital Agenda news)
Still, the European Commission sees the importance of the new rules and mentions as potential beneficiaries of this new regulation: students (being able to register at a foreign university without having to travel abroad), citizens having affairs (business or personal ones) in different Member States (e.g. arranging a marriage abroad, moving abroad, filling tax returns abroad), patients (who could allow access to their online medical records to foreign doctors), etc. (Q&A)