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It is widely accepted that the use of common formats greatly facilitates the exchange, access and reuse of information. Exploiting new harmonised structures can bring savings in cost and time, and it can help improve the quality of documents. This is particularly true in the case of legal documents, including those produced by the EU institutions. It is in this context that an idea was born to start working towards the adoption of common formats defining the semantic concepts and structure of EU legal documents.

In April 2014, the Publications Office proposed the establishment of a new committee, the Interinstitutional Formats Committee, in order to coordinate the efforts required to agree on standard formats for legal documents. The idea was to create a Common Vocabulary of structural concepts in the first place, and then follow it up with a Common Exchange Model to bridge the gap between the Common Vocabulary and its implementation.

As the first result the Interinstitutional Formats Committee delivered version 1.0 of the Common Vocabulary of structural concepts which focuses on the document type “regulation”. Through the ongoing work the scope is being extended to other document types.

In its meeting on 2nd December 2016 the Management Committee of the Publications Office of the EU has adopted the IFC Common Vocabulary 1.0:

IFC governance procedure

In its meeting on 2nd December 2016 the Management Committee (Suppléants) of the Publications Office of the EU has adopted the IFC Governance, which since has been complemented by the "light governance" as approved by the IFC plenary meeting on 8th December 2016:

Please also consult the introductory leaflet on IFC ("Harmonising Formats – Facilitating Better Regulation").