24. March 2022
The ASCG today submitted its comment letter on the legislative proposal published by the European Commission on 25 November 2021 to establish a European Single Access Point (ESAP) for company and product data.
The legislative proposal includes a draft Regulation establishing ESAP, as well as a draft Omnibus Regulation and a draft Omnibus Directive amending certain Regulations and Directives that set out the information to be reported to ESAP in the future (we reported).
We consider the legislative initiative proposed by the European Commission as important and welcome its objective. Yet, we think that the specific design of the downstream implementing measures will be decisive for the achievement of this objective and the associated costs for preparers. As those implementing measures cannot be sufficiently assessed at this point in time, the comment letter identifies several points, which we see as important factors for a successful implementation of ESAP.
We welcome that the proposal aims to create no new reporting obligations in terms of content and hope that this premise can be adhered to. Additionally, we welcome that the proposal follows a ‘file only once’-principle, where data is uploaded once but used for different purposes and addressees.
We consider the timetable outlined for the establishment of the ESAP by 31 December 2024 and the scope of the information to be made available on the ESAP to be very ambitious. Therefore, we support the ‘phasing in’ approach, and think that, as a first step, information prepared for financial market participants to comply with their own reporting requirements (such as information according to the SFDR that would prospectively be reported under the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), especially the quantitative EU Taxonomy Templates, and further quantitative sector specific ESG information) should be made available in the ESAP.
Further, we think that it is important to take into account the experiences and knowledge gained from the ESEF introduction. Based on this, we think it would be helpful to establish a consultative forum that would enable ESMA to exchange views with its stakeholders on issues concerning the implementation of ESAP as well as application issues after the implementation of the ESAP. Additionally, we suggest establishing a transparent and binding process for resolving technical and functional application issues, in a timely manner.
Furthermore, while the legislative proposal on ESAP proposes only to amend the provisions on publication in the Accounting Directive, however, the proposed amendment to the Accounting Directive of the European Commission’s proposal for a CSRD would require all large undertakings to prepare their (consolidated) financial statements and their (consolidated) management report in the European Single Electronic Format (ESEF). As the electronically prepared financial statements and management report would thus be the legal financial statements and management report of the company, a variety of formal, legal and technical issues arise, similar to the questions that have already been extensively discussed in the course of the ESEF introduction resulting from the EU Transparency Directive.