Greek authorities are closer to actualising the upgrade to citizen’s identity cards, ensuring they meet international security standards.
There have been talks of an upgrade for years, with Greece required as a European Union member-state to overhaul its outdated system since 2000, and will see ID cards replaced with new ones featuring biometric data on a microchip.
The country’s failure to do so thus far has proven to be an issue of concern abroad, namely for Washington. With Greek national using the US’s visa waiver program (VWP), which grants Greeks entry without a visa, officials are concerned that the ID card in its current form can easily be forged.
Washington has given Athens until April 2017 to upgrade the IDs or face being excluded from the program.
With a visit scheduled this month to the Greek capital by a delegation from the US Department of Homeland Security to look into the extent of Greece’s enforcement of the VWP, it seems to have pushed authorities to seriously pursue the upgrade, reports Kathimerini.
In doing so, a tender is expected to be announced and for government officials to launch talks with representatives from select companies that are interested in producing the ID cards.
With the financial crisis Greece has been experiencing, it’s no surprise it has failed to upgrade the identity cards, with the estimate cost expected to be some €80 million.