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Telecommunications Council refers back framework for electronic signatures

Member States meeting at the Telecommunications Council on 27 November 1998 failed to agree on the requirements for a Community Framework for electronic signatures. The issue was referred back to diplomats to continue work on the proposed directive.

The proposal aims at facil...
Member States meeting at the Telecommunications Council on 27 November 1998 failed to agree on the requirements for a Community Framework for electronic signatures. The issue was referred back to diplomats to continue work on the proposed directive.

The proposal aims at facilitating the use of electronic signatures to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market. The Framework would apply to all electronic commerce and other contracts.

Discussions centred around the question of whether there should be mandatory requirements in the directive, specifying the quality and level of security of signature creation and verification devices in order to give them full legal recognition.

Council having failed to reach an agreement at the meeting, it now seems impossible to fulfil the objective of getting the directive approved before the end of next year. The proposal will be discussed again at the next Telecommunications Council on 22 April 1999, after the European Parliament has given its opinion. The codecision procedure requires a second reading in Parliament after Council has approved the draft directive. But by April of next year, the European Parliament will be fully involved in the process for elections to the Parliament in June 1999.

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