Much that has to do with authorities takes a long time in Germany. And it’s complicated. The traffic light coalition wants to streamline bureaucratic regulations. She has now decided on a first list of projects.
According to the federal government, citizens and companies should have to deal less with bureaucratic requirements. The cabinet decided on the cornerstones for a corresponding law at its meeting in Meseberg, Brandenburg.
“We are convinced that many companies in Germany are suffering from bureaucratic burn-out,” said Justice Minister Marco Buschmann (FDP) when presenting his plans. According to Buschmann, the planned measures will save 2.3 billion euros a year. “In the future, paper will also be thrown away more quickly in companies,” he said.
In general, the obligation to sign on paper should be omitted in many places, instead an e-mail would be sufficient.
– Retention: The retention periods for accounting documents under commercial and tax law are to be reduced from ten to eight years.
– Hotels: Hotels should no longer have to show a registration form for guests with German nationality.
– Food: The seller should no longer have to have written records of allergens, additives and flavorings in food sold in bulk. A recording in digital form should then suffice.
– Airport control: In the future, travelers should be able to allow airlines to read the data in the passport chip. This should speed up checks.
– Parents: Fathers or mothers who want to reduce their working hours or take parental leave should be able to do so more easily. Instead of a signature on paper, an e-mail, for example, would then be sufficient.
– Workplace: Instead of using notices as before, employers should in future be able to inform their employees, for example via the intranet – this applies to legally prescribed information obligations for certain working time regulations. In the future, job references should also be able to be issued electronically, but with an electronic signature.
– Species protection: The tests required for construction projects to determine the impact on species protection are to be simplified, particularly for rail projects. The requirements should be formulated more specifically.
– Shipping: Seagoing vessels from non-EU countries should no longer require a permit for domestic transport in coastal waters. More than 90 percent of such applications would be approved anyway, it said.
Plans are based in part on responses to an online survey
The plans are based on proposals from the federal ministries in their respective areas, but also on an online survey of associations that submitted 442 proposals for reducing bureaucracy.
Buschmann said that the planned law was not enough. “Reducing bureaucracy is an ongoing task.” Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) will tackle procurement law and Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) will present a whole series of measures in the health system. In addition, a European initiative to reduce bureaucracy should be started, because the majority of the bureaucratic burden came from the implementation of European law. The cabinet passed a corresponding impulse paper.
Business representatives react cautiously
The reactions of business representatives were muted. The General Secretary of the Central Association of German Crafts, Holger Schwannecke, welcomed the initiative in principle, but criticized that the key issues paper fell short of the possibilities. “The shortening of retention requirements as well as the review of information and documentation requirements now provided for in the agreed key issues paper are important measures that have also been known for years: it should have gone much faster.”
Association speaks of lip service
The President of the Association of Family Entrepreneurs, Marie-Christine Ostermann, spoke of lip service. She referred to the supply chain law, which obliges companies above a certain size to exclude child labor or serious environmental violations in the manufacture of their products. You need to create reports to do this.
Business associations have long complained about too much bureaucracy. At the same time, there is growing concern that German companies could become less competitive internationally because of high energy prices in international comparison and a multi-billion dollar subsidy program in the USA.
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.