XBRL as EU standard


Article 1: The eXtensible Business Reporting Language version 2.1 is eligible for referencing in public procurement.

Done at Brussels, 28 January 2016.

The President. Jean-Claude JUNCKER.

Standardisation plays an important role in supporting the Europe 2020 strategy, as set out in the Communication from the Commission entitled Europe 2020: A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Several flagship initiatives of the Europe 2020 strategy underline the importance of voluntary standardisation in product or services markets to assure the compatibility and interoperability between products and services, foster technological development and support innovation.

The completion of the Digital Single Market is a key priority for the European Union as highlighted in the Communication from the Commission entitled Annual Growth Strategy 2015. The Commission in its Communication on a Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe  highlighted the role of standardisation and interoperability in creating a European Digital Economy with a long-term growth potential.

In the digital society standardisation deliverables become indispensable to ensure the interoperability between devices, applications, data repositories, services and networks. The Communication from the Commission entitled A strategic vision for European standards: moving forward to enhance and accelerate the sustainable growth of the European economy by 2020 recognises the specificity of standardisation in the field of information and communication technologies (ICT) where solutions, applications and services are often developed by global ICT Fora and Consortia that have emerged as leading ICT standards development organisations.

Regulation (EU) No 1025/2012 aims at modernising and improving the European standardisation framework. It establishes a system whereby the Commission may decide to identify the most relevant and most widely accepted ICT technical specifications issued by organisations that are not European, international or national standardisation organisations. The possibility of using the full range of ICT technical specifications when procuring hardware, software and information technology services will enable interoperability between devices, services and applications, will help public administrations to avoid lock-in that occurs when the public procurer cannot change a provider after the expiration of the procurement contract because using ICT proprietary solutions, and will encourage competition in the supply of interoperable ICT solutions.

For the ICT technical specifications to be eligible for referencing in public procurement they must comply with the requirements set out in Annex II to Regulation (EU) No 1025/2012. Compliance with those requirements guarantees the public authorities that the ICT technical specifications are established in accordance with the principles of openness, fairness, objectivity and non-discrimination that are recognised by the World Trade Organisation in the field of standardisation.

The decision to identify the ICT specification is to be adopted after consultation of the European multi-stakeholder platform on ICT standardisation set up by Commission Decision 2011/C-349/04 complemented by other forms of consultation of sectoral experts.

On 26 February 2015, the European multi-stakeholder platform on ICT standardisation evaluated the eXtensible Business Reporting Language version 2.1 (XBRL 2.1) against the requirements set out in Annex II to Regulation (EU) No 1025/2012 and gave a positive advice to their identification for referencing in public procurement. The evaluation of XBRL 2.1 was subsequently submitted to consultation of sectoral experts that confirmed the positive advice to its identification.

XBRL 2.1 is a technical specification for digital business reporting, managed by a global not for profit consortium, XBRL International. The consortium is made up of approximately 600 public and private sector organisational members from around the world. The goal of this consortium is to improve reporting in the public interest.

XBRL 2.1 can be applied to a very wide range of business and financial data. It streamlines the preparation of business and financial reports for internal and external decision making. By using XBRL 2.1, companies and other producers of financial data and business reports can automate the processes of data collection.

The XBRL 2.1 should therefore be identified as ICT technical specification eligible for referencing in public procurement.

XBRL as “identified European Standard”

The 11 of December 2013, in the XBRL Europe Day held in Luxembourg, the Keynote Speech of Francisco García Morán, Chief IT Advisor of the EC, was ICT Standardisation Policy: Framework, Challenges and Opportunities in the  European Landscape

XBRL Europe wramly received the speech and created a Task Force co-chaired by XBRL Sweden and XBRL Spain  to interact with the European Multi-Stakeholders Platform on ICT Standardisation (MSP-ICT), with the objective of promoting XBRL as “Identified Standard”, according to the REGULATION (EU) No 1025/2012.

The XBRL Identification Submission Form  was accepted by the MSP-ICT on Oct. 2014.

A  letter of XBRL EU to XBRL Jurisdictions / stakeholders re-circulated on Nov. 2014

The Evaluation Report for XBRL 2.1 was approved in the MSP meeting of Feb. 2015 and submitted to the Commission accordingly, being the following steps: 

  1. The Commission will launch a consultation of sectoral experts (and after).
  2. The Commission may adopt the implementing Decision to identify the XBRL 2.1 technical specification for referencing in public procurement.  (See XML and IP6) 

By giving maximum transparency to this initiative, as well as by informing the representatives of the national Member States and preparing a consensus, the co-chairs are confident in receiving  collaboration of all MSP-ICT representatives and stakeholders.




3.3.4. eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL)

(A.) Policy objectives

eBusiness, defined as doing business over the internet, needs unified definitions, identification and codification of business-related information, processes, actors and their roles, and relationships. That includes names, legal form and status, financial information and reports, transactional information, deeds and claims in legal and administrative proceedings used in a variety of commercial, societal and administrative contexts in commerce, taxation, statistics, public procurement, supervision of regulated activities, judicial etc. Once unified, information can then be automatically processed by ICT, published, searched and retrieved from the internet, automatically analysed and used by governments, businesses, consumers and civil society.

XBRL is a set of XML predefined vocabularies and rules, developed and used by financial industries, originating largely with accountancy practices, to report financial position, performance and economic viability of businesses. XBRL permits the publication of financial reports augmented by mark-up according to sets of XBRL tags (called taxonomies) which then may be processed and retrieved by market participants, including analysts, supervisors, enterprise regulators, tax offices, clients, suppliers, creditors and investors.

(B.) Legislation and policy documents

(B.1) at European level

The European Parliament resolution of 10 March 2009 on the Small Business Act (2008/2237(INI)) COM(2011)0684 – C7-0393/2011 – 2011/0308(COD):

The European Parliament, Committee of Legal Affairs – Report of 25 September 2012 on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the annual financial statements, consolidated financial statements and related reports of certain types of undertakings  COM(2011)0683 – C7-0380/2011 – 2011/0307(COD):

The European Parliament, Committee of Legal Affairs – Report of 27 September 2012 on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2004/109/EC on the harmonisation of transparency requirements in relation to information about issuers whose securities are admitted to trading on a regulated market and Commission Directive 2007/14/EC

(B.2) Others

The Netherlands Standard Business Reporting (SBR) program, using XBRL taxonomies for government-to-business interactions.

(C.) Standardisation needs, ongoing activities and progress report
(C.2) Ongoing standards developments

ORGANISATION                  SHORT DESCRIPTION & weblinks
XBRL                                       Base specifications and related resources: http://www.xbrl.org/

XBRL                                       International Financial Reporting Standards taxonomies
and related resources

BANKING                               XBRL resources for EU banking and insurance supervision:
AUTHORITY                          http://www.eurofiling.info/

CEN/WS XBRL: workshops on Improving transparency in financial and business reporting,
including CWA 16744-3:2014 (European XBRL Taxonomy Architecture), CWA 16746-1:2014
(Standard regulatory roll-out package for better adoption: XBRL Supervisory Roll-out Guide) and CWA 16746-2:2014 (Standard regulatory roll-out package for better adoption: XBRL Handbook for Declarers).

(D.) Proposed new standardisation actions
(D.2) Other activities around standardisation

ACTION 1:  A basic survey to determine EU member states’ initiatives, resources and position on XBRL and its fit to European regulatory accounting practices is one option, depending on the findings from the above CEN workshop. Coordinated EU input to the global XBRL standardisation processes, notably in XBRL and in International Financial Reporting Standards taxonomy, could leverage multilateral efforts leading to transparent financial industries and sound governance in the post-crisis global economy.


EU policy areas supported by ICT standardisation

Societal Challenges
– eHealth
– Active and Healthy Aging
– Accessibility of ICT products and services
– Web Accessibility
– e-Skills and e-Learning
– Emergency communications
– eCall

Innovation for the digital single market
– e-Procurement, Pre and Post award
– e-Invoicing
– Card, Mobile and Internet Payments
– Online Dispute Resolution (ODR)

Sustainable growth
– Smart Grids and Smart Metering
– Technologies and Services for a Smart and Efficient Energy Use
– ICT Environmental Impact
– EETS (European Electronic Toll Service)
– Intelligent Transport Systems
– Advanced Manufacturing

Key enablers and security
– Cloud computing
– Public Sector Information, Open Data and Big Data
– eGovernment:
– Electronic identification and trust services including e-signatures
– Internet of Things
– Network and Information Security
– ePrivacy
– Broadband Infrastructure Mapping
– eInfrastructures for research data and computing-intensive science
– Preservation of Digital Cinema