The bureaucratic burden caused by new laws has reached a record level in the past year. This is the conclusion reached by the Regulatory Control Council (NKR) in its latest annual report, which was handed over to the Federal Government on Monday. Every year, the independent body examines the time and costs incurred by new laws.

The report, which covers the period from July 2022 to June 2023, states: "Compared to previous years, the burden on companies, authorities and the population stemming from federal law has grown sharply – by 9.3 billion euros per year and by 23.7 billion euros on a one-off basis." The biggest cost driver was the Building Energy Act, which, however, is also associated with a great future benefit. The gas and electricity price brake has been "set up in an incredibly complicated way," criticized the deputy chairwoman of the NKR, Sabine Kuhlmann.

"More courage to take a gap"

If overly complex laws are to be implemented by an administration that is characterized by staff shortages and delays in digitization, the overload will take on worrying proportions, warned NKR chairman, Lutz Goebel. He called for "more courage to fill the gap" in legislation and declared: "If we had more efficient structures, more regulation would perhaps be less significant." A new reform of federalism is also urgently needed.

On a positive note, Lutz emphasized that the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has at least now recognized that simplified processes are necessary in order to implement the "green transformation" that the government is striving for. NKR Vice-President Kuhlmann said, however, that when it comes to reducing bureaucracy, there is not a lack of knowledge, but of practical implementation.

For example, she was critical of the Federal Government's initial deliberations on basic child support. These would not amount to 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 with regard to the digitalisation of administrative services, for which he was responsible. From the point of view of the Regulatory Control Council, the Online Access Act and its implementation have "disappeared into the basement", so to speak.