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Draft EU Regulation:
Will Signatures Disappear Anyway?
Draft EU Regulation
2. Trust Services
e-Identification: mutual recognition
– if an online (government) service in a Member State
requires access authentication by means of an e-ID,
– then this service should be accessible for e-ID’s notified
by other Member States
Art. 5.1 of the Directive
“Member States shall ensure that advanced electronic signatures
which are based on a qualified certificate and which
are created by a secure-signature-creation device:
a) satisfy the legal requirements of a signature in relation to
data in electronic form in the same manner as a handwritten
signature satisfies those requirements in relation to paper-based data;
b) are admissible as evidence in legal proceedings.”
So, why didn’t we use it?
• too complex?
• no services available?
• not relevant in our jurisdiction?
• national legislation is more flexible
• regulating signatures is not sufficient (= only one part of the
• signatures are very often no longer needed
“4. If an electronic signature with a security assurance level below qualified
electronic signature is required, in particular by a Member State for accessing a
service online offered by a public sector body on the basis of an appropriate
assessment of the risks involved in such a service, all electronic signatures
matching at least the same security assurance level shall be recognised and
5. Member States shall not request for cross-border access to a service online
offered by a public sector body an electronic signature at a higher security
assurance level than qualified electronic signature.”
Draft Regulation: “access signatures”
“A qualified electronic seal shall enjoy the legal presumption of
ensuring the origin and integrity of the data to which it is linked”.
Draft Regulation adds:
“Qualified electronic time stamp shall enjoy a legal presumption of
ensuring the time it indicates and the integrity of the data to
which the time is bound.”
“A document bearing a qualified electronic signature or a qualified electronic seal
of the person who is competent to issue the relevant document, shall enjoy
legal presumption of its authenticity and integrity provided the document does not
contain any dynamic features capable of automatically changing the document”.
“Data sent or received using a qualified electronic delivery service shall
enjoy legal presumption of the integrity of the data and the accuracy of
the date and time of sending or receiving the data indicated by the
qualified electronic delivery system.”
But does it still make sense
to sign and to transmit electronic documents
Traditional Context: Sign and Transmit
In the context of digital processes we produce evidence by
registering what happens.
Not by exchanging signed documents!
1. The authenticity of the origin, the integrity of the content and the
legibility of an invoice, whether on paper or in electronic form, shall be
ensured from the point in time of issue until the end of the period for
storage of the invoice.
Each taxable person shall determine the way to ensure the
authenticity of the origin, the integrity of the content and the legibility
of the invoice. This may be achieved by any business controls which
create a reliable audit trail between an invoice and a supply of goods
New Approach: European VAT Directive
Now back to the initial question
Let us doing it this way
Transmission of electronically
NO LEGAL PRESUMPTIONS
7a. Removal of Manual-Ink Signatures
and Their Electronic Equivalent When Possible
“It is recommended that Governments and all organizations concerned with the
facilitation of international trade procedures
examine current trade documents
to identify those where manual-ink signatures and their electronic equivalent
could safely be eliminated and
to mount an extensive program of education and training in order to introduce the
necessary changes in commercial practices”
K.U.Leuven / iMinds
(t) +32 (0)16 32 51 49
www.icri.be / firstname.lastname@example.org
time.lex - Information & Technology Law
(t) +32 (0)2 229 19 47
www.timelex.eu / email@example.com
Bull Executive Roundtable - Legal Digital