NES is cooperation among a group of countries and organizations to facilitate the practical use of electronic collaboration in the procurement chain, based on available international standards.

As part of the Northern European cooperation on e-commerce and e-procurement, representatives from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, UK and Iceland have set up a working group for developing a Northern European subset of UBL 2.0 documents. The main focus of NES is to define the semantic use of UBL 2.0 as applied to specific business processes. To achieve this the UBL 2.0 standard is restricted on additional levels by using “profiles” that apply to defined business situations. The use of individual elements is specifically described to avoid conflicting interpretation. Additionally each country has developed guidelines that describe the application of the NESUBL subset to domestic business practices. The goal is to enable companies and institutions to implement e-commerce by agreeing to a specific profile and thus eliminate the need for bilateral implementation. Additional countries have shown interest in joining the work. The NESUBL subset was published in March 2007.

Applications based on NES are expected to become widely available. Based on government initiatives in each country, wide public use is expected. The Danish government has actively been using a UBL variant called OIOXML since 2005 as part of their eGovernment initiative. In June 2007 the Icelandic government started to receive and accept — as fully legal documents — electronic invoices conforming to profile 4 of the NES subset. Work is also underway in Italy, Spain, Holland and the European Commission itself.

Further development of NES has been moved over to CEN/BII workshop and will be an important tool in the PEPPOL project, Pan European Public Procurement project.

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