The European Single Electronic Format (ESEF) – Part 3
MAY 29, 2020


By Stephanie Buhagiar Camilleri (Senior Technical Expert) and Gabriel Aquilina (Analyst) Capital Markets, Securities and Markets Supervision.


The use of European Single Electronic Format (ESEF) for the preparation of annual financial reports is mandatory for financial years starting on or after 1 January 2020. The ESEF’s introduction is pursuant to Article 4(7) of the Transparency Directive to reflect the will of the European Parliament and the Council to establish a single structured electronic format for EU annual financial reports and builds on financial transparency rules already agreed by European Parliament and member states.

This article is part of a series that delves into more detail about the ESEF.

  • Part 1 provided a general background to the European Single Electronic Format (ESEF) and the corresponding key requirements.
  • Part 2 focused on the technical features of ESEF and the eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL), specifically the inlineXBRL report, the ESEF taxonomy, the XBRL validation checks and the submission of the Annual Financial Report.

Part 3 will focus on the publication of the 2019 ESEF XBLR Taxonomy and that of the ESEF Conformance Suite.


Publication of the 2019 ESEF XBRL Taxonomy

On 20 December 2019, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) updated the ESEF XBRL taxonomy files (hereinafter referred to as the ESEF taxonomy) to reflect the changes made to the ESEF Regulation. This enables users of the ESEF taxonomy files to remain compliant with the relevant requirements. Given that the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) taxonomy [1] is the foundation of the ESEF taxonomy, the ESEF Regulation and the corresponding taxonomy will be periodically updated to reflect the respective evolution of IFRS.

Market participants, specifically preparers, can access the most recent ESEF taxonomy in the form of a set of electronic XBRL files that are available in a machine-readable and freely downloadable format on the ESMA website.


Publication of the ESEF Conformance Suite

Reference is made to Part 2 on ESEF in the MFSA NewsHub, whereby it was highlighted that, prior to submission, the filing being created and/or consumed must be validated against certain requirements using a specific software tool.

On 23 March 2020, ESMA published the ESEF Conformance Suite (hereinafter referred to as the Suite) that helps to determine whether the software tool can detect and flag non-compliance with the ESEF requirements. In trying to streamline the conformity of software tools, the Suite aids in facilitating compliance with the ESEF regulation.

Market participants, specifically XBRL software developers, can access the Suite, packaged in a zip file, and the accompanying test cases through the ESMA website.

Should you have any queries relating to the above, kindly contact the Authority [email protected]


[1] The IFRS Taxonomy prepared by the IFRS Foundation.