eco formulates an Internet Policy Agenda for the Bundestag elections with 20 core demands from the Internet industry for a modern digital policy
When it comes to digital policy, German voters give the federal government a poor rating, and are calling for digital issues to be accorded greater political priority in the coming legislative term; for example, by virtue of a Ministry for Digitalisation. This is the key finding of the “Digital Policy Election Barometer” presented today, an initiative which eco – Association of the Internet Industry has jointly developed with the opinion research institute Civey, and with the support of the Vodafone Institute and eco member companies Leaseweb and Huawei. In the run-up to September’s federal election, the barometer provides an overview of how Germany’s total population, as well as those of the individual federal states, feel about strategic digital policy issues.
Almost 100 percent dissatisfied with digital education and digital administration
As the barometer shows, around 72 percent of respondents state that they are not satisfied with the federal government’s policies in any area of digital policy. Dissatisfaction is particularly high regarding digital administration (just 3.2% satisfied), digital education (just 3.5% satisfied), and digital infrastructure (5.2% satisfied). The area with the highest level of approval is data protection, which gains a 14.3 percent level of satisfaction. The respondents also see Germany in a poor position in international comparison. In rating Germany as a digital location, more than 76% regard it as lacking in competitiveness.*
“The past 12 months, shaped by the Covid-19 pandemic, have made people recognise the great potential that digital technologies and services offer in helping to manage everyday lives and in coping with the pandemic restrictions,” says eco Chair of the Board, Oliver Süme. At the same time, however, Süme goes on to observe that the blatant shortfalls of politics have also become visible in many spheres, which are considered to be preventing the unlocking of digitalisation’s full potential. Süme sees this experience as giving us food for thought for the future and a need to catch up on the backlog in Germany’s digitalisation. It is therefore unsurprising to learn that more than 60 percent (61.3 %) of those surveyed now consider the influence of digital technologies and services on their private and professional everyday life to be large or even very large.
Ministry for Digitalisation: Citizens and businesses demand higher priority for digital policy
“Digitalisation is no longer a niche topic, but has long since become a part of people’s everyday lives. My advice to politicians is to do justice to the importance of digital topics and to assign these topics greater priority in the coming legislative term, in the form of a dedicated Ministry for Digitalisation furnished with corresponding competences and budgets, and in the form of an ambitious digital strategy coordinated across all ministries,” says Süme. The lack of coordination is currently particularly evident in the area of digitalisation and sustainability, Süme goes on to say. “We see incredible potential for saving energy and reducing CO2 emissions through digital technologies, but at the same time this potential for achieving climate goals is currently not being exploited because the topic is not strategically embedded in the federal government’s energy and climate policy. For digital technologies and applications to continue to have a positive influence on the future’s climate balance, accelerated digitalisation is indispensable. Such a cross-cutting issue can only be managed by a cross-cutting ministry,” says Süme.
In its Internet Policy Agenda launched today, eco outlines these and other core digital policy demands of the Internet industry, demands which are supported by 63.2 percent of the population. Around one third (33.5%) also state that the topic of digital policy will have either a strong or a very strong influence on how they vote. Among the 18-29 year-old electorate, over a half (51%) of the respondents also share this view.
Among the younger electorate in particular: digital policy influences electoral decision-making
Janina Mütze, Founder and Managing Director of Civey, points out that the topic of digitalisation is accorded particularly high attention by the young 18-29 year-old electorate. “Our own data tells us that 83 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds believe they are insufficiently represented by politics. This has undoubtedly much to do with a lack of attention to this generation’s topics. In the Digital Policy Election Barometer, the proportion of those ascribing significant importance to digitalisation in their lives is highest among this age group, coming in at around 75%. This means that, especially among the young electorate, the parties could score points with an ambitious digital policy,” Mütze continues. “An overall concept and a figurehead standing for digitalisation could help in this regard.”
*On behalf of eco, the market and opinion research institute Civey surveyed 5,090 people between 24 February and 28 April 2021. The results are representative of German residents aged 18 and over. The statistical error of the overall results is 2.5 percent.
Further Information and Links
- Link to 20 Core Demands (English-language)
- Link to the full version of the Internet Policy Agenda (German-language)
- Register for: Internet Policy Party Check on 4 May (German-langauge)
- Campaign Website wahl/digital (The Vote for Digital) (German-langauge)