Annual report: Burden of bureaucracy higher than ever

Annual report
The burden of bureaucracy has never been higher

Overly complex laws are paralyzing Germany: The call for federalism reform and simplified processes is getting louder. photo

© Sebastian Christoph Gollnow/dpa

The Regulatory Control Council reports historically high burdens caused by new laws. The biggest cost driver: the Building Energy Act.

The bureaucratic burden caused by new laws reached a record level last year. This is the conclusion reached by the Normative Control Council (NKR) in its current version Annual report submitted to the federal government. Every year, the independent committee examines the time and costs resulting from new laws.

The report now presented, which covers the period from July 2022 to June 2023, states: “Compared to previous years, the burden on companies, authorities and the population arising from federal law has grown significantly – by 9.3 billion euros per year and a one-off increase 23.7 billion euros.” The biggest cost driver was the Building Energy Act, which, however, also has great future benefits. The gas and electricity price brake was “incredibly complicated,” criticized NKR deputy chairwoman Sabine Kuhlmann.

Federalism reform is urgently needed

If overly complex laws are to be implemented by an administration that is characterized by a lack of personnel and delays in digitalization, the overload will take on worrying proportions, warned NKR chairman Lutz Goebel. He called for “more courage to leave gaps” in the legislation and explained: “If we had more efficient structures, more regulation would perhaps be less important.” A new federalism reform is also urgently needed.

Lutz positively emphasized that the Federal Ministry of Economics has at least now recognized that simplified processes are necessary in order to implement the “green transformation” that the government is aiming for. However, NKR Vice President Kuhlmann said that when it comes to reducing bureaucracy, it is not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of practical implementation.

Lack of transparency

She was critical of the federal government’s initial considerations for basic child welfare. These would not amount to a simplification, at least for the administration, since according to the current plans, “a large number of authorities” would be involved in enforcement.

Lutz accused the Federal Ministry of the Interior of a lack of transparency when it comes to the digitization of administrative services for which he is responsible. From the perspective of the Regulatory Control Council, the Online Access Act and its implementation have, so to speak, “disappeared into the basement”.


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