The European Commission has made XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) version 2.1 eligible for referencing in public procurement. From 17 February, public administrations in the EU can refer to the XBRL specification in their requests for tender. XBRL is a standard for exchanging business information, facilitating automatic retrieval of financial information and improving analysis of financial reporting.
The freely-available standard, developed by the not-for-profit XBRL Consortium, was accepted by the Commission after consulting the European multi-stakeholder platform (MSP) on ICT standardisation and other experts.
The MSP experts evaluate and examine the compliance of technical specifications in the field of ICT that are not national, European or international standards.
XBRL is now the seventh technical specification following this process that can be referenced in public procurement. Others include Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC), Extensible Markup Language version 1.0 (XML) and Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6).
On their website on ICT standardisation, DG GROW (the Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs) explains how ICT specifications are primarily used to maximise the ability of systems to work together. “This is essential to ensure that markets remain open, allowing consumers to have the widest choice of products possible and giving manufacturers the benefit of economies of scale. Standardisation is thus an important tool to promote European competitiveness.”