Digital Policy Must Be the Common Thread of the Coalition Agreement

eco Chair Oliver Süme calls for rapid formation of government: “Digital transformation will not tolerate delay”.

Regardless of which coalition will govern Germany in the next four years, it must make a holistic, well thought-out and consistent digital policy strategy the guiding principle of its policies. Now the strategic digital issues for the next four years must be defined in the coalition negotiations and included in the coalition agreement as an integral part of an upcoming government. Oliver Süme, Chair of eco – Association of the Internet Industry, is convinced that digital policy must be the common thread of the coalition agreement because digitalization is the key to tackling the biggest challenges of the coming years. The upcoming coalition government should bundle coordination and control in a digital ministry. The exploratory talks should also be held quickly and not stetch over several months, as was the case after the last federal election.

Commenting on the outcome of the Bundestag elections on 26 September 2021, eco Chair Oliver Süme says: “Digital transformation is the key to mastering almost all of the major challenges we will have to deliver in the coming years. I, therefore, urgently appeal to all parties to put the issue of digitization at the centre of their coalition negotiations and make it the leitmotif of future government policy.”

“We need a consistent digital policy strategy, steered by a lead digital ministry”

Digital transformation is a strategic cross-cutting issue that needs to be thought of in a cross-departmental way, Süme added. In addition to numerous detailed regulations that are dealt with in the relevant departments, there are overarching central issues relating to the handling of data, services and networks that require clear, efficient and stringent regulation. This is particularly evident in the current handling of data centres and initiatives such as Gaia-X. Here, he said, it is evident that a consistent and agile coherent digital policy is needed.

“We need a central digital department that keeps an eye on the broad lines of a digital agenda, ties up the loose ends, and has the competencies and budgetary and human resources to implement cross-departmental digital policy measures of strategic interest to the German federal government. This is the only way to prevent the wrangling over competencies and the inconsistency of recent years in the area of digital policy. Only if we consistently exploit the opportunities and potential of digital transformation will Germany be able to successfully meet the challenges of the coming years – be it structural change in the economy, demographic change or the energy transition,” said Süme.

In its Internet Policy Agenda, the eco Association outlines important demands and recommendations for action from the Internet industry in order to further advance digital transformation in Germany. The resulting 20 core demands for the next legislative period can be found here.

German Bundestag Election 2021