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EU Signature Dialog

European Signature Dialog: Digital boost needs secure infrastructures


The leading European Trust Service Providers met on June 22 and 23, 2020 in a virtual conference with the European Commission and the European Parliament. The aim was to discuss about the evolution of the Digital Single Market and critically examine how the browsers industry has acquired a systemic role, which effectively allows some players to act as private gatekeepers to markets, customers and information.

The European Signature Dialog is committed to making digital interactions across Europe secure - between authorities, companies and private users. A look at the COVID 19 outbreak clearly shows that trustworthy digital infrastructures are essential to keep companies going, to remain internationally competitive and to mitigate the far-reaching negative effects on the overall economy.

Strengthening the Digital Single Market

The ESD, which is made up of the leading European Trust Service Providers, appeals to EU legislators to strengthen and propagate the eIDAS regulation as a key enabler of a resilient digital economy. The dialog between the ESD, the European Commission and the European Parliament focused not only on evolution proposals for the eIDAS regulation (EU Reg 910/2014), but also on the tools and the regulatory frameworks that could reinforce EU citizens’ rights to trust and security when accessing online services.

Europe leading the way

“Europe can be proud of its excellent data protection landscape. Many countries around the world have aligned their own legislation with the EU’s strong data protection framework. Mirroring this success, the EU should actively promote its model of a safe, secure and trustworthy digital economy”, said Michael Butz, Managing Director of the Austrian A-Trust and Chairman of the European Signature Dialog.

About the European Signature Dialog

The European Signature Dialog has quickly established itself as one of the EU Commission's most important dialog partners and has been an expert pool for digital trust services since it was founded. The aim of the ESD is to empower users to move safely through the digital world. The ESD was held for the first time in Vienna in June 2017 in the presence of Andrus Ansip (Vice President of the European Commission until 2019). Under the leadership of A-Trust, Qualified Trust Service Provider in Austria, a Think Tank was founded that keeps a critical eye on the developments in global data protection.

ESD III Rome: Leading Trust Service Providers drive European Privacy

Immediately after the EU election, Europe's leading signature providers gather in Rome to manifest previous dialogues with the EU Commission and EU Parliament. They focus on the critical analysis of non-European systems and cross-border interoperability.

Rome/Vienna, May 28th, 2019

In June 2017, the European Signature Dialog was held in Vienna for the first time in the presence of Andrus Ansip, Vice-President of the European Commission. Under the leadership of A-Trust, qualified trust service provider in Austria, a think tank has been set up, which casts a critical eye on developments in global data protection and supports European stakeholders throughout the ICT market.

The third flagship meeting of the European Signature Dialog will be hosted by ESD Alliance partner Infocert, Trust Service Provider in Italy, and will focus on optimizing cross-border digital interplay between May 27 and 28 together with the top 10 European TSPs. In addition, the best eIDAS models of success are combined with visionary ideas and innovative market trends. Danilo Cattaneo, CEO Infocert, commented: “We are delighted to welcome the European Signature Dialog members here in Rome and are confident that it will be a great opportunity to continue sharing our visions, ideas and experiences to meet the needs of European citizens, businesses and institutions. Europe needs the best possible trust solutions, such as digital signature and ID authentication, to aid the continued growth of the digital economy. The European digital economy is, in fact evolving rapidly in an increasingly cross-border, fully eIDAS- fashion, which is aim of the European Signature Dialogue."

Strong interlocutor for EU Commission
The European Signature Dialog has quickly established itself as one of the key contacts of the EU Commission and has acted as an expert tool for digital trust services since its inception. The most recent meeting took place in Brussels from April 4 to 5, 2019 and dealt with a status check of the European trust service market and a Europe-wide trust service covering consumer protection and transparency in the context of the Digital Single Market. ESD's goal is to empower users to navigate the web securely, relying on user-friendly and verified trust services that meet the highest security standards

Bridging function ESD: Europe as a globally recognized role model
Cooperation at European and international level will continue to be strengthened by the ESD. Europe acts as a respected role model in privacy and digital trust. "With the European Signature Dialog, we have set ourselves the goal of anchoring the EU as a world leader in the field of trust services. In doing so, we want to sharpen our critical view of personal privacy and continue to strengthen the eIDAS milestone as a secure framework for digital interactions in Europe,"said Michael Butz, CEO of A-Trust and Chairman of the European Signature Dialog.

European Trust Service Providers present first work results

A-Trust: „We are a strong team“

June 14th, 2018

Vienna, 19 June 2018 - At their 2nd European Signature Dialogue (ESD) since the club was founded in spring, representatives of the leading European signature providers showed what good teamwork looks like: effectively and quickly. At the beginning of the week (18/19 June), they were already bringing first results of the joint working groups to the table in Lisbon.

"We are a strong team," said Michael Butz, CEO of A-Trust, the Vienna-based trust services provider, about the good cooperation between the leading signature providers and industry decision makers in Europe. On the initiative of A-Trust the "Associated European Trust Centers" was founded to build up a common plan for enhancing the regulatory framwork for Electronic Signatures and Digital Trust in Europe. "In order to speed up the harmonization of a secure digital EU internal market, the members directly rolled up their sleeves and, like a cross-border think tank, targeted their tasks together," said Butz. The intermediate results will now be presented in the Portuguese capital and submitted to the European Commission after the content has been agreed. Not least against the background of Austria assuming the EU Presidency on 1 July, A-Trust has pushed ahead with the cooperation. It is one of the most important technical initiatives of the fallow, since concrete objectives are formulated at EU level.

„European Pilot“

For example, one of the five working groups, composed of Italian and Spanish members, deals with a status check: The aim of the project is to represent the whole complex of European trust service providers with all their products and services in order to support all European interest groups in the ICT market. An updated inventory of this type is currently not yet available for public. Another working group, supported by the Austrian A-Trust and the Portuguese Multicert, is concerned with the challenge of improving the cross-border interoperability of qualified digital signatures. "This European pilot, based on local infrastructure and European law, aims to establish a Europe-wide functioning trust service, thus ensuring the autonomy of data security," explained Butz. In addition, A-Trust works with the Luxembourg partners on an expansion plan to bring even more countries/service providers into the "ESD boat". "We aim to establish ESD as a strong dialogue partner for the EU Commission," Butz continued.

The third ESD edition will take place in Brussels in the fall. The preparations are already in progress.

A-Trust initiates its second European Signature Dialog

European signature providers unite to start a remarkable future-oriented collaboration.

Feb 15th, 2018 | Vienna (A)

Europe First! A-Trust invites CEOs and decision-makers of leading European signature- and trust service providers to convene at the second ESD event. The “Association of the European Signature Dialog” was founded to enhance networking, facilitate the exchange of information and build a common plan for enhancing the regulatory framework for Electronic Signatures and Digital Trust in Europe.

The first ESD event, which was held last year in the presence of Mr. Andrus Ansip, Vice-President of the European Commission, demonstrated that there is common lack of expertise with already approved EU Trust regulations. EU authorities expressed exceptional interest in increasing cooperation with Signature Providers and asked A-Trust to develop specific industry viewpoints on focused topics. Consequently, Michael Butz, CEO of A-Trust, was invited to Brussels and started a Trust Awareness campaign ─ the Digital Trust Movement: “The annual ‘European Signature Dialog’ (ESD) Conference shall constitute a steady think-tank of the major European trust service providers. Together we can achieve harmonized policies on fair conditions for digital signatures and take the next important step in Europe’s digital signature history.”

Closely interacting with EU authorities, ESD is building a bridge between eIDAS regulation and its harmonized implementation on national levels - thereby driving an efficient cross-European eIDAS implementation framework. In view of the fact that Austria will assume on 1 July 2018 the EU Council Presidency, A-Trust, which is based in Vienna, and the ESD aim to make the EU a world leader in Cybersecurity, Digital Trust and Electronic Signature.

Another remarkable step was yesterday’s ESD conference, which united European’s leading signature providers and engendered future-oriented collaboration. In particular, the document approved by the ESD Conference regarding collaboration includes the following guidelines:

  • Enable harmonized cross-border transactions
  • Increase awareness about eIDAS (electronic Identification, Authentication and Trust Services) to foster and accelerate the digital transformation of the European economy
  • Promote personal data protection
  • Empower European solutions for guaranteed data-security
  • Develop a European Cloud Infrastructure, based on local infrastructure and European law

The importance of the ESD initiative on Feb 15th, Vienna, was demonstrated by the participation of the leading European signature- and trust service providers ─ e.g. Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Finland ─ and the presence of Prof. Reinhard Posch, CIO of the Austrian Federal Government. One of the collaboration’s focus will be to increase awareness about eIDAS and harmonized standards for European trust center infrastructure. 2016 eIDAS came into effect in all 28 EU member states. Thus, it is indispensable to draw special attention to regulations, which have to be harmonized to allow truly inter-operable eID and Trust Services across Europe.

Prof. Reinhard Posch, CIO Austrian Federal Government, Austria:
“With the eIDAS regulation we all expect an important increase in use and interoperability of proactive security methods for the internet both in the public and in the private sector. Austria was ambitious to contribute to this piece of legislation to make remote signatures and eID even more visible and the Handy-Signature has shown the great potential in comparison to physical cards. As mobile devices will soon be the primary access channel to information and services we see the need to further develop and push such concepts so as to actively contribute to security by design. The qualified website authentication certificates add a further security element. Even if provision is behind need, QWACs are essential for the payment as well as for the social security areas already now, it seems obvious that for the mobile services and APPs this offers additional trust as well as opportunities especially for European services and providers.”

Michael Butz, CEO A-Trust, Austria:
“The annual ‘European Signature Dialog’ shall constitute a steady think-tank of the major European trust service providers. Together we can achieve fair conditions and harmonized policies for digital signatures and take the next important step in Europe’s digital signature history. Europe needs clear answers to the future challenges of digitization, and we are very pleased to have this powerful joint voice. Together we want to make Europe a strong player in authentication and cybersecurity.”

Kim Nguyen, CEO D-Trust, Germany:
“The eIDAS regulation offers the unique chance of establishing a common digital trust space in Europe. The “European Signature Dialog” will be a unique opportunity to shape and promote this trust space by means of open discussion between the main European trust service providers and thus help to secure citizens and business or government services alike. D-Trust, celebrating it’s 20th anniversary in 2018 is honoured to be part of this important EU wide exchange of ideas and visions.”

Moudrick Dadashov, CEO SSC, Lithuania:
“As the reliability of eIDAS regulation is ensured by a number of 'bodies' and 'trust service providers', we know every chain is as weak as its weakest link. The synergy that the “European Signature Dialog” creates, along with existing schemes like Regulation (EC) No 765/2008, Decision No 768/2008/ of the European Parliament and of the Council, leads us to a harmonized system of requirements to all involved 'bodies' and the level of market surveillance of products never available before.”

Alfonso Carcasona, CEO Camerfirma, Spain:
“The successful implementation of the eIDAS regulation will be greatly enhanced through the setup of the “European Signature Dialog” platform. The ESD forum will become the channel to clarify, exchange and share the different solutions and interpretation of the operational aspects of this regulation. The importance of ESD will go well beyond the initial stage of this regulatory harmonization and into the future, significantly contributing to the real existence of a unified European digital market for the trust service providers.“

Pascal Rogiest, CEO LuxTrust, Luxembourg:
“European Commission’s strategy for digital economy requires a seamless compatibility and user’s experience of digital processes throughout Europe. Such favorable environment cannot be achieved without a genuine cooperation between the main European Trust Services Providers and the European regulatory bodies. I strongly believe that the ESD will be beneficial for the digital economy as a whole and for each of its stakeholders, because it’s just about enabling a digital Europe in a win-win initiative, and it will result in stimulating digital demands. LuxTrust is proud to be part of the ESD as the eIDAS Luxembourg Qualified TSP”.

Danilo Cattaneo, CEO InfoCert, Italy:
“We believe that EU has in place the most advanced regulation for digital identity and digital trust services. As of today, the common regulatory environment, together with investments in R&D, have enabled innovative Trust Service Providers like InfoCert to grow and to expand our footprint to more than 10 countries that enjoy the common regulatory basis.In spite of this, many member states are not taking the full advantage of this favourable environment and are not consistently driving further digital signature adoption by the private sector. The ‘European Signature Dialog’ think tank represents a great opportunity to drive adoption by sharing best practices, technical guidelines and success stories. It is my hope that the EDS can help the EU Parliament, as well as EU member states, to successfully and rapidly achieve all objectives stated in the EU digital agenda.”

Jere Vento, COO Avaintec Oy, Finland:
“ESD is an important and unique forum to influence the development of a thriving market for digital services. The legal framework for trust services and eSigning is still confusing for many companies and consumers. The purpose of eIDAS legislation is not to complicate things but rather to boost digitalisation throughout Europe. The users of these services don’t care about the framework, they only care about delightful experiences and meaningful services. The EU has a chance to boost the growth of digital services or it can complicate things for European companies; but it can’t change the fact that in the end, user experience always trumps everything.”


A-Trust is an Austrian company offering services related to secure communication in the digital and mobile world. The main focus of the variety of services are confidentiality, integrity and comfort as well as the creation of secure digital signatures. The company is a qualified trust service provider conformable to eIDAS regulation. A-Trust, a company for security systems in electronic data traffic, is subject to regular controls by the Austrian Regulatory Authority for Broadcasting and Telecommunications.

Further inquiry:

A-Trust GmbH

Corporate identity prihoda gmbh

Mag. Julia Wolkerstorfer

mag. Gudrun Wolfschluckner

Kommunikation & PR

Head of pr

Wien Mitte – The Mall E02

Landstraßer Hauptstraße 1b

Peter-Jordan-Straße 74

1030 Wien

1190 wien

Tel.: +43 676 878 63 8611

tel.: +43 1 479 63 66 – 17


June 2nd, 2017 | Vienna (A)

In the presence of EU Commissioner Andrus Ansip, the first European signature dialog took place in Vienna on the initiative of A-Trust. The CEOs and decision-makers of leading European Trust Centers attended the event. With this event, Austria plays an important role in the networking of European signature providers.

Digital signatures are booming: 210 million transactions took place worldwide in 2014, and 750 million transactions are already expected in 2017. Against this background, the exchange of knowledge and networking among leading providers is becoming increasingly important. For the first "European Signature Dialogue", A-Trust therefore invited major trust service providers from across Europe to the informal meeting, laying the foundations for closer European cooperation.

Almost half of all Europeans (47 percent) use e-government services. The importance of the "European signature dialog" was also highlighted by the participation of Andrus Ansip, Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for the digital single market and digital economy, and the presence of other political stakeholders.

Within the scope of the event, topics such as future trends for the European signature market, security of signature services, new innovative products and the need for uniform legal regulations were discussed. In addition to networking, the focus was on exchanging know-how on best practices and innovation opportunities as well as the development of common visions and objectives.

"Through today's event, Austria has been able to play a central role in the networking of European trusted service providers. Our goal is to optimize the network between e-signature providers in the future and thus to accelerate the exchange of knowledge and know-how. Europe needs clear responses to the future challenges of digitization, and we are delighted to have a strong voice here, "said Michael Butz, CEO of A-Trust.