XBRL formally identified as a specification that can be referenced in European public procurement - January 2016

European Union flags in front of the Berlaymont building (Europe

On the basis of the advice provided by the EU Multi-Stakeholder Platform (MSP), an expert group composed of EU member states, standards setting organisations and other stakeholders, and following subsequent consultations with relevant sectorial experts, the European Commission has decided to identify XBRL as a specification that can be formally referenced in European public procurement, in the same way as other specifications such as XML, OPv6, among others.

This process of identification of ICT specifications allows the European Commission to identify ICT technical specifications that are not national, European, or international standards, provided they meet certain requirements. Once identified and approved, these specifications can then be referenced in European public procurement.

The requirements for a specification to be identified for European public procurement are specified in Annex II of Regulation 1025/2012 on European Standardisation and this includes having market acceptance and being coherent with European Standardisation.

Currently in use by the European Central Bank, the European supervisors EBA (Banking), EIOPA (Insurance), ESMA (Securities, still in consultation), along with national regulators in 17 other EU countries, XBRL certainly fits the bill.

The European Union launched its ICT standardisation effort to benefit the EU community in many ways, but especially by preventing “lock-in”, where agencies become overly reliant on a single vendor or proprietary technology. By identifying a standard that can be utilised by multiple vendors, greater interoperability, flexibility and cost savings are ensured. By naming XBRL as an identified ICT Standard, the European Union is indicating to regulators that they will be able to specify XBRL and still adhere to mandatory EU guidelines for best practices in procurement.

This has been a long term effort led by XBRL Europe and several European XBRL Jurisdictions with assistance from XBRL International. Thanks to everyone involved!

Read the bill signed by Jean Claude Junker the President of the European Commission in the Official Journal of the European Union here and also a description of the identification process here.