eco on Digital Strategy: “German federal government must see digitalisation as an enabler”

  • Civey survey: 71 percent of Germans dissatisfied with current digital policy
  • Population sees greatest need for political action in digital administration (45%), digital infrastructure (43.6%) and cybersecurity (43.3%)
  • eco Chair Süme: “Digital strategy could have been more ambitious.”
  • Lots of projects, few prospects

Tomorrow, at the cabinet meeting in Meseberg, the German federal government wants to adopt its revised digital strategy and thus finally give Germany a “comprehensive digital awakening”. This move towards digital transformation is long overdue as there is great dissatisfaction in large parts of the population in Germany about the sluggish progress of digitalisation. The current Digital Policy Opinion Barometer, which eco has been gathering together with the market and opinion research institute Civey since February 2021, shows that 71.1 per cent of German citizens are not satisfied with digital policy in any area. According to the survey, the respondents see a particularly great need for political action in the areas of digital administration (45%), digital infrastructure (43.6%) and cyber security (43.3%).

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eco Chair Süme: “Digital strategy could have been more ambitious.”

“The digital strategy presented today by the German federal government is in part very concrete,” says eco Chairman Oliver Süme, “but it could have been more ambitious in many places. In my view, Germany, as the largest economy in Europe, should also be a pioneer in digital transformation and set benchmarks. I cannot see this approach in the present strategy,” said Süme. In principle, it is to be welcomed that numerous projects of the ministries have been elaborated quite extensively and with concrete goals until 2025. Nevertheless, it is still unclear in part how these goals are to be implemented and, above all, who is responsible for them, Süme continued.

This becomes visible in the example of data policy. Many measures are proposed, such as the establishment of dataspaces, data pools and a data institute, but it is unclear who is responsible for these and how they should work.

Lots of projects, few prospects

In general, eco criticises the strategy for the way it was developed. Although the strategy started with great commitment and goals, it then bowed to the constraints of the department principle, with each Ministry staking their claim on work packages. Unfortunately, there is little sign of the grand design of a forward-looking digital policy with vision.

For example, when it comes to digital infrastructures, the focus is still on the networks, while the importance of data centres as the backbone and foundation for digital sovereignty and sustainable digitalisation remains unnoticed.

“We would have liked to see a more functional digital policy that is more oriented towards concrete current challenges, such as the looming energy crisis or advancing climate change,” says eco board chairman Süme. The German federal government must use digitalisation much more strongly and strategically as an enabler for a more sustainable, resource-conserving and public welfare-oriented economy. The association will continue to advocate for this focus in further exchanges with politicians, Süme added.

*The market and opinion research institute Civey surveyed 21,390 people between 07.04.2022 and 29.08.2022 on behalf of eco. The results are representative for the inhabitants of Germany aged 18 and over. The statistical error of the overall results is 2.5 percent.

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