NEWS

Greece working to improve security of identity cards

A committee of experts is already examining the upgrade of Greek identity cards so they meet European Union and US standards, which could be key to Washington keeping Greece in its visa waiver scheme.

Sources at the Citizens’ Protection Ministry told Kathimerini on Monday that the panel, which includes officers from the police’s passport directorate, was brought together around a month ago. It is examining what new data should be included on the latest edition of ID cards.

Currently, they display the holder’s fingerprint but it is likely that the new version will include a microchip that will store biometric data. The committee is expected to submit its proposal by the end of January. The cost of upgrading existing ID cards is estimated at more than 80 million euros.

The subject is said to have come up during US Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Athens on Friday. It is thought that the pressure on Greece to change its ID cards has been stepped up after the terrorist attacks in Paris as they are deemed to be to easy to forge, which then allows holders to apply for Greek passports to use for traveling outside of the country.

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