As eema, the independent European e-Identity & security association, prepares to host its annual conference, its Executive Director Roger Dean has announced that the UK lags behind the rest of the continent in its efforts to facilitate free movement of goods, citizens, capital and services across the EU. Dean has also questioned the methods used by the UK government to ‘sell’ the concept of identity cards to its citizens.
In March the UK Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith MP, outlined plans to issue compulsory ID cards this year to foreign nationals working in the UK with further rollout to follow in 2009 and 2010.
“The UK government has been unsuccessful in spinning the national identity card as a tool in its fight against terrorism, rather than focusing on the practical benefits such schemes have proven to deliver in countries that have implemented cards,” comments Roger Dean. “Meanwhile, other countries such as Austria, Italy, Germany, Belgium and Estonia have raced ahead with their own programmes, leaving the UK dragging its heels behind the rest of the continent, despite this recent announcement.”
During the 2005 Manchester pan-European governmental congress a declaration was made to facilitate free movement of goods, citizens, capital and services across the EU to encourage the Internal Market by 2010. This European eID Management Framework was further endorsed at the 2007 Lisbon assembly.
“Many countries in the EU are focused on meeting this deadline,” continues Dean. “It is clear, however, that if the UK fails to match the pace of other nations it is in danger of compromising its long term commercial competitiveness, being pushed out on a limb as the rest of Europe becomes ‘joined up’.”
During the two day European e-Identity Conference eema will bring together industry professionals and policy-makers from EU Member States to facilitate, resolve and lobby for the commercial, technical, legal and regulatory barriers to e-ID interoperability. Dean offers this challenge, “Interoperability is the biggest barrier to e-ID. Many card infrastructures aren't compatible across borders, so come and find out if yours is one of them and how this is being resolved.”
The European e-Identity Conference takes place from 10th – 11th June in The Hague, The Netherlands. For registration, delegate fees and further details on the conference, please visit the conference website at www.eema.org/eema2008, contact +44 (0) 1732 367007 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To register your interest in attending as a member of the press please tel: +44 (0) 1962 888100 or email: email@example.com. Subsidy for flights and accommodation may be available.