The European Commission has proposed that identity cards held by EU citizens be required to include digital images of the holder's fingerprints.

The commission reportedly wants to do away with paper-based identity documents that are easy to falsify and can be used to enter the bloc from non-EU countries.

It said in its proposal that it would not force countries to introduce ID cards, but those countries that use them would be required to include two pieces of biometric data: an image of two fingerprints and a facial image.

Non-compliant cards would be phased out within five years, and within two years for cards that cannot be read by a machine.

New cards would be valid for no more than ten years.