Electronic ID cards ‘a success’
18 February 2005
BRUSSELS – After somewhat of a slow start, it appears that Belgian electronic identity cards are finally catching on, it was reported Friday.
More than 200,000 such cards have been distributed and within five years, every Belgian is expected to have such a card in place of the old-fashioned, paper version.
The first electronic I.D. card was delivered in June 2003, with 11 ‘pilot’ communes being technically enabled to produce such cards. Denis Melsen, the official in charge of the effort at the Interior Ministry, said that some 220,000 individuals have such cards now.
Only 15 communes out of 589 nationally are not yet technically equipped to issue the cards, but nine of them have already set a date for moving over to the new system.
The six other communes say they do not have the personnel to do so.
The cards basically resemble a bank or credit card and contain the same personal information as on an old-fashioned card, such as name, birth date, address, etc.
Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates praised the Belgian electronic ID cards during his recent visit to Brussels.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news