The UK’s vision for digital work in Europe is based on real issues faced by real people - consumers and entrepreneurs - when trying to benefit from the EU in a digital age. It pushes EU policy making in a new direction - asking how being part of the EU can benefit us.
The vision addresses some of the irritations faced by anyone travelling around Europe, like not being able to stream online content that you’ve already paid for. It also asks the question of why, when 61% of Europeans shop online, only 12% shop online across borders.
For businesses, it asks how businesses can have proper access to the European market whilst going through administrative processes once rather than 28 times. It also takes on the really difficult questions, like how users can have real control of their own data and know how it is being used.
Finally, it embraces digital by default, creating a Europe where it’s even easier to do things online across borders than it is to do them offline in a single country.
So what does GOV.UK Verify mean for Europe?
The vision recognises that some of this can’t be achieved unless people have a way to prove who they are online. We are building GOV.UK Verify because we know that some services cannot be securely offered online unless the user can prove who they are. That applies to the whole of the EU just as it applies in the UK.
Giving people a secure way to prove who they are online across the whole EU makes it possible for industries where identity matters - like banking and insurance - to open up their services across the European market. It opens a world of possibilities in revolutionising digital service delivery across Europe. It means that online services can deliver more, and deliver it better. It’s an essential step towards achieving the EU’s potential in a digital world.
There’s a lot more information about the EU work we’re doing on identity here. One essential element is working with users (consumers and industry) to make sure we get policy decisions right. The Commission is hosting an event with some of the relevant industry sectors in the near future. We’ll keep this blog updated on progress as we move from vision to reality.
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