Digital Public Administration: eco Calls for Sanctions and Consistent Implementation of German Online Access Act (OZG)

The arbitration committee on the German Online Access Act (OZG) 2.0 met this Wednesday. The amendments to the law, which had been rejected by the German Federal Council (Bundesrat) in March, are intended to give the federal states represented there a greater say. eco – Association of the Internet Industry welcomes the agreement reached, but is in favour of a genuine legal entitlement to digital public administration with sanctioning options to enable compliance with deadlines, unlike the previous law.

The Online Access Act (OZG) passed in 2017 was intended to digitalise almost 600 public administration services by 2022. When this deadline passed, it became clear that the digitalisation of public administration in Germany needed more urgency. What made sense in theory failed in political practice. The new version of the law, the OZG 2.0, was rejected by the Federal Council after being passed by the German parliament, the Bundestag, in February of this year.

Following a meeting of the arbitration committee, an agreement has now been reached. The “Bund-ID” is to become the “Deutschland-ID” and act as a centralised citizen account for communication between citizens and public administration. For the representatives of the federal states, this is more than just a name change. Instead, they are calling for negotiations on an equal footing and a mechanism enshrined in law to record and distribute costs between the federal government and the federal states for the digitalisation of public administration. eco welcomes the exchange between the federal government and the federal states. “A large part of public administration is handled at municipal and state level. Effective implementation of administrative digitalisation can only succeed if all levels are involved and pull together,” says eco Chair of the Board Oliver SĂĽme.

If this does not happen, the association believes there should be the possibility of sanctions. “The previous law showed how easy it is to let deadlines pass if no consequences are drawn. Financial sanctions can help to accelerate the digitalisation of public administration,” says SĂĽme. Speed is needed to achieve the targets set by 2028. It is now up to politicians at federal and state level to show that they are serious.

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