Most machine learning systems for natural language processing are tailored to specific tasks. As a result, comparability of models across tasks is missing and their applicability to new tasks is limited. This affects end users without machine learning experience as well as model developers. To address these limitations, we present DERE, a novel framework for declarative specification and compilation of template- based information extraction. It uses a generic specification language for the task and for data annotations in terms of spans and frames. This formalism enables the representation of a large variety of natural language processing challenges. The backend can be instantiated by dif- ferent models, following different paradigms. The clear separation of frame specification and model backend will ease the implementation of new models and the evaluation of different models across different tasks. Furthermore, it simplifies transfer learning, joint learning across tasks and/or domains as well as the assessment of model generalizability. DERE is available as open-source software.