Second Wave of e-IDs in Europe

Published: 13 Jan 2010

Yiru Zhong, Analyst
Information & Communication Technologies, Frost & Sullivan

On December 29, 2009, Poland announced that it had approved legislation that would pave the way for a national electronic ID (e-ID) project beginning January 1, 2011.  This is an important development, as Poland is amongst the few countries within Europe to be in the beginning stages of e-ID project rollouts.  Germany and France were two other countries that were expected to have started their national e-ID projects in the last two years.  Germany in particular has been eagerly anticipated, as it is one of the four countries in Europe that requires a compulsory national ID.  Unfortunately, both these projects did not materialise; Germany’s rollout was delayed on trials to 4Q 2010, and France’s e-ID cards were still to be defined within the parliament.  The news in Poland is a positive development, as the project will be at a significantly larger opportunity than in other Eastern European countries that have already begun issuing e-IDs.  We are also optimistic that in coming years, many other countries in Europe will come on-stream for the migration to national e-IDs.  More importantly, we expect a virtuous cycle in a deeper and wider use of smart card technologies within Poland and Europe to accelerate demand in other areas and, in turn, generate incremental revenues for the smart card industry.     

The pl.ID Project in Numbers

pl.ID is the name of Poland’s electronic ID project.  Polish legislation mandates Polish citizens to hold any form of national ID cards.  However, out of a population of 38 million, almost 75 percent, or 28 million, currently hold one.  Each year, 4 to 5 million national ID cards are printed by the Polish Security Printing Works (PWPW) through the authority of the Ministry of Interior & Administration.  pl.ID has a projected budget of US$130 million (1PLN = 0.35211 US$), of which about US$110 million is funded by the EU and the remainder by government budget.  The project has a planned duration of four years, beginning 2010 through 2013.  The groundwork is expected to be done in 2010, in time for the first issuance of a national e-ID by January 1, 2011, when existing national IDs would begin to expire. 

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