Belgium was the last of the EU Member States to issue biometric passports and had been reprimanded by the EU Court of Justice for being more than three years late to comply with the EU requirements. Nearly a year after being taken to court, Belgium has chosen its suppliers and announcements state that it will be issuing ePassports by May 2014.
Gemalto released news that it will provide the Belgian Federal Public Service for Foreign Affairs with more than 400,000 ePassports every year and Zetes will serve as the system integrator in this long term agreement.
ePassports store unique personal characteristics such as a fingerprint, providing robust and reliable authentication of the holder’s identity. Under a five-year contract, Gemalto will supply the Belgian ePassport program with its Sealys range of highly secure and durable ePassport booklets, and its latest ICAO secure embedded software. Zetes is responsible for the personalization and delivery of the ePassports.
The combined expertise of Gemalto and Zetes was proven in a series of rigorous audits conducted by the Belgian Federal Public Service for Foreign Affairs at both Gemalto and Zetes sites.
”Gemalto and Zetes have the know-how necessary to ensure that the customer benefits from our successful experience of rolling out the Belgian eID cards, and this is why the national authorities have the continued confidence in our expert team,” said Alain Wirtz, CEO of Zetes Group. “With 80 references in government programs worldwide, Gemalto was clearly positioned as a strong partner to meet the very high expectations of the Belgian ePassport project.”
“The Belgian ePassport is certainly one of the most advanced ever created,” said Frédéric Trojani, Senior Vice-President of Government Programs at Gemalto. “Our successful experience acquired through a large number of national passport programs worldwide has clearly enabled this accomplishment, for the benefit of Belgian citizens and Public Service alike.“