eSignature in Europe - where we do stand in Europe

V. Tilman and A. Esposito drafted a report on eSignature and interoperaibility 10 years after the publication of the European Directive. This paper gives a state of the art and addresses 6 recommendations.

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Community framework for electronic signatures

 The main piece of regulation at European level is the Directive 1999/93/EC. A summary of the Directive is available on EC webpages. It foresees among others that Member States shall notify the Commission of a series of information related to possible voluntary accreditation schemes, national bodies in charge of the accreditation and supervision and names of accredited certification service providers (notification status).

Besides that a number of standards were adopted by ETSI and CEN.

On 28 November 2008 the European Commission adopted an "Action Plan on e-signatures and e-identification to facilitate the provision of cross-border public services in the Single Market". End 2007, the EC published also 2 important studies related to interoperability:


The new Regulation on eIdentity and eTrust services

The Regulation on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market was adopted by the European Union in July 2014. This new Regulation which will progressively enter into force. The new rules create a legal framework for electronic identification and trust services.

The framework for trust services goes well beyond the initial 1999 eSignature Directive. In addition to enhancing the provisions related to eSignature, it expands to other trust services, such as the creation and verification of electronic time stamps and electronic registered delivery services, or the creation and validation of certificates for website authentication. Trust services which comply with the regulation can circulate freely within the single market. In addition, an EU trust mark will be created to identify trust services which meet certain strict requirements. The use of the trust mark will be voluntary. That part of the Regulation will take effect in July 2016.

The mutual recognition of electronic identification is foreseen in the second half of 2018. The new system requires Member States that wishes to notify the European Commission about an electronic identification scheme used at national level to recognise, under certain conditions, the electronic identification schemes of other Member States. These rules only cover cross border aspects of eIdentification, which remains a national prerogative.


Notify ChamberSign in case of abuse

ChamberSign is a lobby organisation looking at the improvement of e-signature interoperability in Europe. If you face practical difficulties with using your e-signature abroad, please contact us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . We analyse each case and when relevant we submit a claim to the European Commission and we follow up.