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Fierce battles on two fronts for 515 mln euro ID contracts

On the project being promoted by the Ministry of Civil Protection, two fronts are in progress, which have already led to delays despite initial assurances of a "lightning-fast tender".

The battle between the consortia seeking the big project for Greece’s new security forms (IDs, passports, driving licenses, etc.) with a budget of 515 million euros is intensifying on two fronts. On the project being promoted by the Ministry of Civil Protection, two fronts are in progress, which have already led to delays despite initial assurances of a "lightning-fast tender".

On the first front, appeals filed by all the candidate consortia are expected to be heard in the last week of November by the Council of State (CoC). The aim of all consortia is to reject for technical reasons the offers of their opponents before the financial offers open. And this is because they are afraid that one of their competitors will be cheaper and will prevail in the case that it is technically acceptable.

The name of one joint venture is being heard in the technology market after having submitted an attractive financial offer and will prevail if it passes - that is, after the appeals process - the technical evaluation.

At the end of last May, it was announced that three of the five consortia that had expressed initial interest had passed the technical evaluation:

  • The joint venture of France’s Thales (controls Gemalto) with the Quest group (Unisystems) and Japanese Toppan Printing that currently manages the passport issuance system,
  • the joint venture of Germany’s Veridos (which maintains a unit for the production of security brochures in our country through Veridos Matsoukis) with OTE and Byte and
  • the Belgian joint venture of Zetes (that controls the Israeli Pitkit Zetes Smartech that manages the Israeli security brochure system) with Space Hellas.

On the second front, some of the excluded bidders, especially US Idemia (French company acquired by the American Advent International), are pushing to overturn the commission's decision and get back in the game. Sources refer to considerable pressure on the diplomatic front. The initial goal of the Ministry of Civil Protection, but also of the Ministry of Digital Governance involved in digital identification, was to issue the first IDs in the first half of 2022, which now seems unlikely. The new IDs will be in the form of a credit card, will incorporate an electronic circuit (chip), a color photo and the digital signature of the holder.

Because they will support the eIDAS technology standard promoted by the European Commission, they will not only act as identification documents but also as "keys" for Internet transactions with the public or private sector, which is why the Minister of Digital Government, Kyriakos Pierrakakis has repeatedly stressed that new identities are the key to the digital transition.

The winner of the tender will undertake not only the new IDs, but also a number of other security forms, from driver's licenses to special cards for immigrants, etc. It is going to spend more than 100 million euros to set up the technological equipment for the Greek Police and install remote machines for issuing security forms in police stations, embassies, ministries (for diplomas), etc. a.

The new identity will cost citizens 10 euros. The final cost of the fee may be lower if the contractor offers a discount compared to the original budget.
The contract will be for ten years, with the possibility of an extension for another five years, with the contractor initially financing the installation of the infrastructure and then collecting the fee from the issuance of new security forms.

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