Only a radical reform can bring Germany’s administration into shape


The more digital the world becomes, the more obvious the deficits of our administration become.

(Photo: imago images / photothek)

The German bureaucracy is sluggish, inefficient and expensive. There are backlogs in the processing of applications at the immigration authorities, the residents’ registration and the building authorities.

Approval procedures for urgently needed investments in renewable energies, production sites or charging infrastructures take far too long. Funding is not called up because the funding candidates are not aware of it.

This is due to the complicated laws, ordinances and administrative regulations – often fueled by Brussels’ obsession with regulation. In addition, the high level of regulation meets inefficient administrative processes. The German bureaucracy works with outdated, incompatible IT systems that prevent cross-agency cooperation. Lean, agile work processes are hard to find.

These deficits have been relentlessly exposed by the most recent crises. The administration must learn from the private sector. Private companies have to change in crises, otherwise they will disappear from the market. There is no such pressure to adapt in the administration.

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New conception of the bureaucracy necessary

That is why we in Germany are much too slow in the urgently needed transformation towards a sustainably growing, innovative economy. This applies to the energy transition and mobility transition as well as the housing industry.

>> Read here: “Incredible effort” – Many companies are poorly prepared for the supply chain law

The author

Volker Brühl is Professor of Finance and Managing Director at the Center for Financial Studies in Frankfurt am Main

(Photo: Private)

We have to rethink from the ground up how application and approval processes can be simplified, accelerated and digitized. One example is the Online Access Act, which provided for the nationwide digitization of public services. According to the most recent report by the Regulatory Control Council, only a small proportion of the planned services have been digitized after five years. Three bureaucracy relief laws have also brought little progress so far.

The more digital the world becomes, the more obvious the deficits of our administration become. The existing system cannot be reformed through isolated measures. A consistent clearing out of the existing laws, ordinances and administrative regulations is necessary.

All laws should be digitizable. All data that authorities need to carry out their services should be recorded in a standardized way in a central database, and manual interfaces and media breaks should be eliminated. A cloud-based IT architecture must be introduced that is used across ministries and agencies and by all local authorities.

This is a mammoth project that will take years to complete. But if you don’t tackle it quickly, Germany’s attractiveness as an investment location will suffer. Concerns about de-industrialization in Germany could then become reality.

More: Trade complains about excessive bureaucracy – “Let’s work”

source site-14