eco Association on Digital Responsibilities of the German Traffic Light Coalition: “Two Steps Back in Digital Transformation”

The German Federal Chancellery recently published a paper setting out the principles and responsibilities of the German federal government’s digital policy. eco Chair of the Board Oliver Süme comments:

“With ambitious goals, the traffic light coalition has made a strong start in digitalisation and must not now get caught up in the minutiae or in wrangling over responsibilities. Of course, digitalisation is a cross-cutting issue that essentially affects all federal ministries. But digital transformation will only succeed if it is not weakened by divided leadership, too many responsibilities and bureaucratic red tape.

AI is a case in point: four federal ministries – the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK), the Ministry of Justice (BMJ), the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS), and the Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) – are engaged in the implementation of planned legislative packages and strategies at national and EU level. It is also unclear as to who will take the lead in data policy and how exactly this should be structured. If there were a Ministry for Digitalisation – a ministry which we at eco had called for – it would have been able to draw together the decisive strategic strands and kept an overview on digital progress.

Nevertheless, it is good that the German federal government has finally clarified the responsibilities for fundamental digital projects and legislative packages and can now hopefully implement them as quickly and effectively as possible. But if the federal ministries involved do not work closely together now, there is a danger that the German federal government will once again take two steps back in digital transformation, rather than one step forward.”


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