On 13 June 2012, the European Parliament has adopted a new Directive (2012/17/EU) aimed at setting up a system for the interconnection of Business Registers. The Directive underscores the need for a common semantic standard for interconnecting business registers. The Core Business Vocabulary, developed by the Core Vocabularies Working Group of the ISA Programme, has much potential to be at the foundation of such a standard for information exchange.
According to the 25 May 2010 conclusions of the Competitiveness Council, European companies are increasingly conducting business beyond national borders. Therefore, companies increasingly rely on up-to-date information on their cross-border business partners. Business registers play an essential role in this regards as their core services consist of registering, examining, storing and making publicly available company information.
Via the new Directive (2012/17/EU) all EU member states engage in enabling electronic communication between business registers and transmitting information to individual users in a standardised way, by means of identical content and interoperable technologies, throughout the European Union. The system of interconnection of registers shall be composed of the registers of Member States, a central platform, and one or more access portals. The European e-Justice Portal will serve as the European electronic access point. The registers must make the following information available free of charge through the interconnection:
- the name and legal form of the company;
- the registered office of the company and the Member State where it is registered; and
- the registration number of the company; and
- information on winding-up or insolvency proceedings.
The new Directive also stipulates that the European Commission may, by means of implementing acts, specify the technical specification defining among others: the structure of the standard message format for the purpose of the exchange of information between the registers, the platform and the portal; and the technical specification defining the structure and use of the unique identifier for communication between registers. Precisely these two aspects are also addressed by the Core Business Vocabulary v1.00.
The Core Business Vocabulary v1.00 has been developed in the period between November 2011 and May 2012 by an EU Working Group initiated by the ISA Programme. It represents a consensus on a simplified data model for identifying and describing fundamental information about legal entities. One of the main benefits of the Core Business Vocabulary is an open identifying system of companies, acknowledging the identifiers attributed by the local, official registers. Version v1.00 of the Core Business Vocabulary was released to the general public on 7 May. On 23 May MS representatives in the ISA Coordination group have endorsed the specification, hereby committing to further disseminate and exploit the work in national initiatives.
The Core Business Vocabulary will now undergo a year-long standardisation process with the W3C GLD Working Group. In the coming year, the ISA Programme will encourage governmental organisations to pilot the use of the Core Business Vocabulary for the exchange of business data.
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