Germany

   

Executive Capacity

#11
Key Findings
Despite an increase in political tension, Germany scores relatively well (rank 11) with respect to executive capacity. Its score on this measure has improved by 0.1 point relative to 2014.

The domestic agenda stems largely from negotiations between the coalition-partner party leaders, with the Chancellery possessing comparatively limited independent powers. Ministries draft bills within their subject area with little Chancellery involvement, giving them leeway to pursue their own or their party’s interests. The Chancellery’s own strategic-planning group is very small.

Several RIA programs are in place, producing generally high-quality reports. Sustainability concerns are regularly reviewed. While the government routinely meets with societal stakeholders, bargaining processes are not highly institutionalized. The coalition has achieved many goals effectively, including a strong reduction in the number of incoming refugees in 2017.

Political conflicts over issues such as migration policy, exacerbated by the 2017 elections and the rise of a new right-wing populist party, have undermined the government’s communication coherence. A shift of tax revenues to the states and municipalities, along with new financial resources to support refugees, has strongly eased task-funding concerns.

Strategic Capacity

#27

How much influence do strategic planning units and bodies have on government decision-making?

10
 9

Strategic planning units and bodies take a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions, and they exercise strong influence on government decision-making.
 8
 7
 6


Strategic planning units and bodies take a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions. Their influence on government decision-making is systematic but limited in issue scope or depth of impact.
 5
 4
 3


Strategic planning units and bodies take a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions. Occasionally, they exert some influence on government decision-making.
 2
 1

In practice, there are no units and bodies taking a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions.
Strategic Planning
4
In the legislative term that ended in 2017, the government was led by Germany’s two most important political parties: the Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) and the Social Democratic Party (SPD). This coalition government did not demonstrate large ambitions in improving the strategic planning of the Chancellery or federal government. The head of the Chancellery, Peter Altmaier, had the status of a minister without portfolio, strengthening his position vis-á-vis the minister-presidents of the federal states and heads of the federal ministries. Although the Chancellery has a staff of around 500 employees, the federal government’s organizational structure is not well designed for strategic planning. Although there is a planning group in the Chancellery, its number of staff is extremely small. It was led by Eva Christiansen, who was simultaneously Chancellor Merkel’s media adviser. Under the permanent representative of the planning group, Dr. Andrea Schneider, strategic planning was not the main activity of the planning group nor is the group afforded a high-priority by the federal government.

Critics diagnosed a lack of strategic planning when Chancellor Merkel opened the borders to incoming refugees without extensive prior coordination across government. Others noted that this partial loss of control was unavoidable given the unforeseen magnitude of external events. After an extended period of muddling through – characterized by unclear competences, interparty competition within government, interministerial conflicts and the absence of a strong, coordinative center – Chancellor Merkel established a coordination unit. This unit was established within the Chancellery and was led by Peter Altmaier.

One handicap for developing a strategic policy approach was that the government was strongly influenced by party considerations, with all major political decisions determined in negotiations between the heads of the governing parties. Consequently, most governmental decisions were negotiated between the three heads of the parties that had made up the last government (CDU, CSU and SPD) and not between members of government. Party leader of the CSU, Horst Seehofer, was not a member of the government. This practice resulted in “party politicization” of the government, which undermined strategic planning.

Citations:
http://www.zeit.de/2016/35/grenzoeffnung-fluechtlinge-september-2015-wochenende-angela-merkel-ungarn-oesterreich

How influential are non-governmental academic experts for government decisionmaking?

10
 9

In almost all cases, the government transparently consults with a panel of non-governmental academic experts at an early stage of government decision-making.
 8
 7
 6


For major political projects, the government transparently consults with a panel of non-governmental academic experts at an early stage of government decision-making.
 5
 4
 3


In some cases, the government transparently consults with a panel of non-governmental academic experts at an early stage of government decision-making.
 2
 1

The government does not consult with non-governmental academic experts, or existing consultations lack transparency entirely and/or are exclusively pro forma.
Scholarly Advice
6
In some policy fields, expert commissions advise policymakers on a regular basis. Most of their members are appointed by the government or by respective ministries. In addition, ad hoc commissions are created to provide scientific advice regarding major reforms that involve complex issues. There are other established expert advisory bodies providing the government with expertise and advice, such as the German Council of Economic Experts (Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der Gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung) and the German Advisory Council on the Environment (Sachverständigenrat für Umweltfragen), which produce reports on current policy problems regularly (the former at least once a year, the latter every four years).

Most ministries maintain external, academic or legal advisory bodies. However, the impact of experts is often less visible and policymaking is heavily influenced by party positions. Nevertheless, while advisory reports do not have an immediate impact, they do bear some influence on political debates within the government, the parliament and among the general public because they are made publicly accessible.

Concerning migration, currently Germany’s most important challenge, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees has created the Academic Advisory Council to provide expert advice and scientific research. In addition, a research group within the federal office analyzes migration and integration issues. This research group collaborates with scientific facilities and other institutions, domestically and internationally.

Summing up, scholarly advice is available for high level policies, but day-by-day policies are decided upon with low levels of external and internal expertise because party politicization of the policymaking process dominates executive decision-making.

Interministerial Coordination

#33

Does the government office / prime minister’s office (GO / PMO) have the expertise to evaluate ministerial draft bills substantively?

10
 9

The GO / PMO has comprehensive sectoral policy expertise and provides regular, independent evaluations of draft bills for the cabinet / prime minister. These assessments are guided exclusively by the government’s strategic and budgetary priorities.
 8
 7
 6


The GO / PMO has sectoral policy expertise and evaluates important draft bills.
 5
 4
 3


The GO / PMO can rely on some sectoral policy expertise, but does not evaluate draft bills.
 2
 1

The GO / PMO does not have any sectoral policy expertise. Its role is limited to collecting, registering and circulating documents submitted for cabinet meetings.
GO Expertise
6
The Chancellery is organized into six directorates, with various numbers of subgroups that are again subdivided to better “mirror” the line ministries (“Spiegelreferate”). However, only four directorates with their sub-directorates (Referate) mirror the respective line ministries and may evaluate the ministerial draft bills. During the last Merkel government and especially in the last two years before the 2017 federal election, party politics dominated. The Social Democrats as well as CDU and CSU ministers for the most part developed and drafted their policies independently of the chancellor and the Chancellery. No coordination nor cooperation between the line ministries took place. In general, the Chancellery does not autonomously evaluate important draft bills or assess them according to strategic and to budgetary government guidelines. In addition, it appears that its capacities are generally lower than those of the line ministries. With respect to European politics and international tasks, the Chancellery seems to coordinate with partners and to function quite effectively.

However, during the recent refugee crisis, in 2015 the cabinet decided upon a new coordination concept. The head of the Chancellery, Peter Altmaier, became responsible for general coordination and a new staff position was introduced. The Ministry of the Interior remained in charge of operational coordination and its existing steering group was strengthened. However, in all other policy areas the powers of the Chancellery remain astonishingly limited.

Can the government office / prime minister’s office return items envisaged for the cabinet meeting on the basis of policy considerations?

10
 9

The GO/PMO can return all/most items on policy grounds.
 8
 7
 6


The GO/PMO can return some items on policy grounds.
 5
 4
 3


The GO/PMO can return items on technical, formal grounds only.
 2
 1

The GO/PMO has no authority to return items.
GO Gatekeeping
6
The Chancellery, and particularly its head, sets the agenda for cabinet meetings. However, real political power lies elsewhere. The cabinet’s agenda is negotiated in advance between the top politicians of coalition partners, and the cabinet mostly works as a certificating institution for policy matters decided by the heads of the political parties. Thus, the Chancellery will only in exceptional cases refuse items envisaged for the cabinet meetings on the basis of its own policy considerations. Generally, the heads of political parties, rather than the Chancellery, act as gatekeepers.

To what extent do line ministries involve the government office/prime minister’s office in the preparation of policy proposals?

10
 9

There are inter-related capacities for coordination in the GO/PMO and line ministries.
 8
 7
 6


The GO/PMO is regularly briefed on new developments affecting the preparation of policy proposals.
 5
 4
 3


Consultation is rather formal and focuses on technical and drafting issues.
 2
 1

Consultation occurs only after proposals are fully drafted as laws.
Line Ministries
6
The preparation of bills is mainly the prerogative of the line ministries (Ressortprinzip). Over the course of regular policy processes, the Chancellery is most of the time well informed, but is not strongly involved in ministerial initiatives. Most disputes between ministries and the Chancellery are discussed and resolved in the often-weekly meetings between the state secretaries and the Chancellery’s staff. Prior to the elections in September 2017, the line ministries and their respective policies became more independent of the chancellor and the Chancellery subgroups (Spiegelreferate)

How effectively do ministerial or cabinet committees coordinate cabinet proposals?

10
 9

The large majority of cabinet proposals are reviewed and coordinated first by committees.
 8
 7
 6


Most cabinet proposals are reviewed and coordinated by committees, in particular proposals of political or strategic importance.
 5
 4
 3


There is little review or coordination of cabinet proposals by committees.
 2
 1

There is no review or coordination of cabinet proposals by committees. Or: There is no ministerial or cabinet committee.
Cabinet Committees
5
As a rule of thumb, the cabinet functions as an institution that formally ratifies policy decisions that have been made elsewhere. In principle, line ministers are responsible for policies within their own jurisdiction. Therefore, they have a strong leeway to pursue their own or their party’s interests, though each ministry must to some extent involve other ministries while drafting bills.

Formal cabinet committees do not play an important role in policymaking and are rarely involved in the review or coordination of proposals. Instead, the coalition committee is mainly responsible for coordinating policies (see Informal Coordination).

How effectively do ministry officials/civil servants coordinate policy proposals?

10
 9

Most policy proposals are effectively coordinated by ministry officials/civil servants.
 8
 7
 6


Many policy proposals are effectively coordinated by ministry officials/civil servants.
 5
 4
 3


There is some coordination of policy proposals by ministry officials/civil servants.
 2
 1

There is no or hardly any coordination of policy proposals by ministry officials/civil servants.
Ministerial Bureaucracy
5
Ex-ante coordination between the line ministries’ leading civil servants has not been particularly strong under past German coalition governments. In addition, an entrenched political practice ensures that no ministry makes any proposal that might be postponed or blocked by other ministries. The federal Ministry of Finance must be involved when budgetary resources are concerned, while complicated legal or constitutional issues necessitate the involvement of the federal Ministry of Justice. But generally, every ministry is fully responsible for its own proposed bills. All controversial issues are already settled before being discussed by the cabinet. The dominant mechanism for conflict resolution is the coalition committee.

How effectively do informal coordination mechanisms complement formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination?

10
 9

Informal coordination mechanisms generally support formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination.
 8
 7
 6


In most cases, informal coordination mechanisms support formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination.
 5
 4
 3


In some cases, informal coordination mechanisms support formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination.
 2
 1

Informal coordination mechanisms tend to undermine rather than complement formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination.
Informal Coordination
6
There are a number of informal mechanisms by which government policy is coordinated. The most important of these is the coalition committee, which comprises the most important actors (the chancellor, the deputy chancellor, the chairpersons of the parliamentary groups and the party chairpersons) within the coalition parties. Under the last Merkel government 2013 – 2017, the coalition committee met irregularly. Only at the peak of the refugee crisis did the coalition committee meet frequently. Even then, it was sometimes unable to resolve political conflicts and to develop coordinated policy responses.

Evidence-based Instruments

#5

To what extent does the government assess the potential impacts of existing and prepared legal acts (regulatory impact assessments, RIA)?

10
 9

RIA are applied to all new regulations and to existing regulations which are characterized by complex impact paths. RIA methodology is guided by common minimum standards.
 8
 7
 6


RIA are applied systematically to most new regulations. RIA methodology is guided by common minimum standards.
 5
 4
 3


RIA are applied in some cases. There is no common RIA methodology guaranteeing common minimum standards.
 2
 1

RIA are not applied or do not exist.
RIA Application
8
In 2000, revised rules of procedure for the federal ministries (Gemeinsame Geschäftsordnung der Bundesministerien, GGO) came into effect, requiring an impact assessment (Gesetzesfolgenabschätzung, GFA) for every draft law. Thus, regulatory impact assessments are institutionally anchored in Germany. The GFA process analyzes both intended and unintended effects of draft laws and potential alternatives.

The government’s 2006 Bureaucracy Reduction and Better Regulation program created a number of new policies relevant to the assessment process. It established the National Regulatory Control Council (Normenkontrollrat, NKR) as an independent watchdog and advisory body tasked with assessing new legislation. It adopted the Standard Cost Model as a tool for measuring bureaucratic costs. Finally, it institutionalized the bureaucracy reduction process by creating a coordination unit within the cabinet office and setting up a committee at the ministerial undersecretary level. However, the NRK only concentrates on potential bureaucratic costs, and not on impacts of laws foreseen through the evaluation process. In addition, about 30% of laws – specifically, those which are initiated by parliament – are not reviewed under the NKR. A separate program is in place for environmental impact assessment.

Does the RIA process ensure participation, transparency and quality evaluation?

10
 9

RIA analyses consistently involve stakeholders by means of consultation or collaboration, results are transparently communicated to the public and assessments are effectively evaluated by an independent body on a regular basis.
 8
 7
 6


The RIA process displays deficiencies with regard to one of the three objectives.
 5
 4
 3


The RIA process displays deficiencies with regard to two of the three objectives.
 2
 1

RIA analyses do not exist or the RIA process fails to achieve any of the three objectives of process quality.
Quality of RIA Process
9
The National Regulatory Control Council (Normenkontrollrat, NKR) cooperates with a large number of different actors on various levels of the administration. Its cooperation with German states and local authorities has intensified, in particular with the development of methodological standards for assessing compliance costs.

In its 2017 annual report, the NKR claimed that the costs of new regulations and laws increased about €2.1 billion whereas the bureaucratic costs remained stable. However, the NKR complained that digitalization processes in public administration lagged well behind other European countries, wasting important opportunities for further cost reductions.

The new “one in one out” rule, introduced in 2015, reduced the financial burdens on enterprises by about €1.4 billion. This rule means that all new costs for enterprises and state bureaucracy (the “ins”) have to be compensated for by additional regulations that reduce costs respectively (the “outs”).

Citations:
Normenkontrollrat (2017): Jahresbericht des Normenkontrollrates 2017:
https://www.normenkontrollrat.bund.de/Webs/NKR/Content/DE/Publikationen/Jahresberichte/2017-07-12-nkr-jahresbericht-2017.html?nn=1669400

Does the government conduct effective sustainability checks within the framework of RIA?

10
 9

Sustainability checks are an integral part of every RIA; they draw on an exhaustive set of indicators (including social, economic, and environmental aspects of sustainability) and track impacts from the short- to long-term.
 8
 7
 6


Sustainability checks lack one of the three criteria.
 5
 4
 3


Sustainability checks lack two of the three criteria.
 2
 1

Sustainability checks do not exist or lack all three criteria.
Sustainability Check
8
In October 2016, Chancellor Merkel (re)appointed the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE). The RNE consists of 15 people selected by the chancellor. Its role is to contribute to the implementation of the National Sustainability Strategy by identifying areas for action, developing specific project proposals and by increasing awareness on the importance of sustainability issues. Six members were newly appointed in October 2016 and the remaining members were reconfirmed. The RNE independently chooses its array of topics and actions.

In addition, the parliamentary Council for Sustainable Development (Parlamentarische Beirat für nachhaltige Entwicklung, PBnE) supervises the government’s sustainability strategy. Its political influence appears moderate and its primary task is to act as an advocate for long-term responsibility in the business of government. The PBnE was established in 2004 and must be reconstituted after every parliamentary election. On the whole, neither the RNE nor the PBnE are well integrated into the RIA framework.

According to the 2017 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Index, jointly developed by the Bertelsmann Foundation and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), Germany ranked six out of 157 countries.

Citations:
Sustainable Development Goals Index 2017:
http://sdgindex.org/assets/files/2017/2017-SDG-Index-and-Dashboards-Report–full.pdf

https://www.nachhaltigkeitsrat.de/aktuelles/aktuelle-meldungen/detailansicht/artikel/nachhaltige-entwicklung-fehlstellen-auch-in-deutschland/

https://www.bundesregierung.de/Webs/Breg/DE/Themen/Nachhaltigkeitsstrategie/3-nachhaltige-entwicklung-alle-sind-Partner/parlamentarischer-beirat/_node.html

Societal Consultation

#12

To what extent does the government consult with societal actors to support its policy?

10
 9

The government successfully motivates societal actors to support its policy.
 8
 7
 6


The government facilitates the acceptance of its policy among societal actors.
 5
 4
 3


The government consults with societal actors.
 2
 1

The government rarely consults with any societal actors.
Negotiating Public Support
7
In general, government representatives meet with societal stakeholders as part of their daily routine. Nevertheless, the last CDU/CSU-SPD government did not make use of social pacts or other direct bargaining mechanisms. As under previous governments, ministries and parliamentary committees relied heavily on information provided by interest groups, and took their proposals or demands into account when developing legislation. The impact of civil society actors in general depends on their power, resources and organizational status. Since interests are sometimes mediated through institutionalized corporatist structures, employers’ associations and unions play a privileged role. On a regular basis, experts and interest groups take part in parliamentary committee hearings in the course of the legislative process.

During the last grand coalition’s term of office, all government parties, the CDU/CSU and the SPD, sought to live up to the promises made in the coalition agreement in order to satisfy the perceived interests of their respective electorates. Some major policy projects – such as the introduction of a minimum wage and a reduction in the statutory pension age for workers with a particularly long working history (from 65 to 63) that have been advocated by certain interest groups (primarily trade unions), were indeed realized. However, bargaining processes are not highly institutionalized and interest representation is often highly selective and conducted on an ad hoc basis.

With regard to non-economic societal actors, the German Islam Conference is supposed to assist in the development of an intercultural dialogue between government officials and Muslim civil society organizations. The institution celebrated its 10-year anniversary in 2016, but little progress has been realized. On the contrary, conflicts between its members, mainly between the government and the DiTib, increased and its future seems uncertain. However, achievements like the introduction of Islamic religious instruction at state schools and the establishment of chairs for Islamic theology at German universities are examples of its success.

Policy Communication

#24

To what extent does the government achieve coherent communication?

10
 9

The government effectively coordinates the communication of ministries; ministries closely align their communication with government strategy. Messages are factually coherent with the government’s plans.
 8
 7
 6


The government coordinates the communication of ministries. Contradictory statements are rare, but do occur. Messages are factually coherent with the government’s plans.
 5
 4
 3


The ministries are responsible for informing the public within their own particular areas of competence; their statements occasionally contradict each other. Messages are sometimes not factually coherent with the government’s plans.
 2
 1

Strategic communication planning does not exist; individual ministry statements regularly contradict each other. Messages are often not factually coherent with the government’s plans.
Coherent Communication
5
In a formal sense, the federal government’s Press and Information Office is the focal point for communication, serving as the conduit for information originating from individual ministries, each of which organizes their own communication processes and strategies. However, this does not guarantee a coherent communication policy, which is a difficult goal for any coalition government. There is a persistent tendency of coalition partners to raise their own profile versus that of the other government parties. This tendency has increased because the upcoming elections in September 2017. Given that the traditional political parties are confronted with the success of a new right-wing populist party, the Alternative for Germany (Alternative für Deutschland, AfD), conflicts between the governing parties have increased and have become a burden for strategic and coherent governmental policy communication.

Implementation

#12

To what extent can the government achieve its own policy objectives?

10
 9

The government can largely implement its own policy objectives.
 8
 7
 6


The government is partly successful in implementing its policy objectives or can implement some of its policy objectives.
 5
 4
 3


The government partly fails to implement its objectives or fails to implement several policy objectives.
 2
 1

The government largely fails to implement its policy objectives.
Government Efficiency
8
The last government has successfully realized many of the pledges made in the coalition agreement (cf. Coalition Agreement 2014). It introduced a pension reform that allows eligible workers to retire at 63 and increases pension payments to older mothers and those with a reduced earning capacity. The Bundestag also approved the country’s first general statutory minimum wage, set at €8.50 per hour at the time and increased to €8.84 in 2017. In addition, the coalition parties agreed to introduce legal gender quotas for corporate boards in order to help break the glass ceiling for women in corporate leadership positions. Even for the motorway toll project, the responsible minister has been able to come to an agreement with the European Commission which makes compensatory tax cuts for German car drivers compatible with European law.

A less favorable example concerns a much more complicated project, Germany’s energy transition toward renewable energy (Energiewende). A recent National Audit Office report criticized the project for lacking proper coordination, and being subject to the whims of too many federal and state ministries that often work against each other. The Energiewende’s implementation presents significant governance challenges. It is a complex challenge that requires cooperation from and coordination between various public and private actors as well as with diverse political levels and jurisdictions – global, European, federal, state, and municipal – as well as interest groups, cooperatives, alliances, banks, and individuals. As a result, political-programmatic goals as well as implementation strategies are continuously in flux.

Refugee and migration policies are a further challenge. The government had agreed on the need for smoothing asylum processes, with quicker decision-making in order to speed up the integration of refugees into the education system and labor market. Through a comprehensive reorganization and staff expansion of the responsible agency (BAMF), the objective of reducing the backlog in asylum applications made some progress. Nonetheless, at the end of October 2017, 546,540 asylum applications had been decided upon, which is 3.1% more than in 2016 (Asylgeschäftsstatistik Oktober 2017). The last government was also successful in reducing the number of incoming refugees through a coordinated policy strategy involving complex agreements with Turkey and a coordinated EU effort to improve border protections. After the record arrival of refugees in 2015 and the decline in 2016, the number of asylum applications decreased by about 75% in 2017.

Citations:
http://www.kas.de/wf/doc/kas_36853-544-2-30.pdf?140820093605

http://www.spiegel.de/thema/energiewende/

https://www.mckinsey.de/energiewendeindex

http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/fluechtlinge-in-deutschland-die-grosse-aufgabe-der-integration-a-1069830.html

Asylgeschäftsstatistik Oktober 2017:
http://www.bamf.de/SharedDocs/Anlagen/DE/Downloads/Infothek/Statistik/Asyl/201710-statistik-anlage-asyl-geschaeftsbericht.pdf?__blob=publicationFile

To what extent does the organization of government provide incentives to ensure that ministers implement the government’s program?

10
 9

The organization of government successfully provides strong incentives for ministers to implement the government’s program.
 8
 7
 6


The organization of government provides some incentives for ministers to implement the government’s program.
 5
 4
 3


The organization of government provides weak incentives for ministers to implement the government’s program.
 2
 1

The organization of government does not provide any incentives for ministers to implement the government’s program.
Ministerial Compliance
8
In principle, line ministers are responsible for policies that fall under their jurisdiction. Therefore, individual ministers have some leeway to pursue their own or their party’s interests. This leeway is substantial in international comparison. Ministers sometimes pursue interests that therefore clash with the chancellor or coalition agreements. In the case of the last government, the coalition agreement bore considerable political weight and proved effective in guiding ministry activities. In terms of budgetary matters, Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schäuble was particularly powerful and able – when he has the chancellor’s support – to reject financial requests by other ministries.

The coalition agreements provided for clear rules when a coalition committee will meet and who will join the meetings. As in previous coalitions, it consisted of the chancellor and the vice-chancellor, the leaders of parliamentary groups and party leaders (if they were not already covered by the persons mentioned above). During the period under review, the coalition committee informally became the most important institution in resolving political disagreements within the government.

How effectively does the government office/prime minister’s office monitor line ministry activities with regard to implementation?

10
 9

The GO / PMO effectively monitors the implementation activities of all line ministries.
 8
 7
 6


The GO / PMO monitors the implementation activities of most line ministries.
 5
 4
 3


The GO / PMO monitors the implementation activities of some line ministries.
 2
 1

The GO / PMO does not monitor the implementation activities of line ministries.
Monitoring Ministries
5
According to the Basic Law, ministers are fully responsible for governing their own divisions. However, they are bound to the general government guidelines drawn up by the chancellor or the coalition agreement. Concerning topics of general political interest, the cabinet makes decisions collectively. The internal rules of procedure require line ministers to inform the chancellor’s office about all important issues. However, in some cases, the Chancellery lacks the sectoral expertise to monitor line ministries’ policy proposals effectively.

How effectively do federal and subnational ministries monitor the activities of bureaucracies and executive agencies with regard to implementation?

10
 9

The ministries effectively monitor the implementation activities of all bureaucracies/executive agencies.
 8
 7
 6


The ministries monitor the implementation activities of most bureaucracies/executive agencies.
 5
 4
 3


The ministries monitor the implementation activities of some bureaucracies/executive agencies.
 2
 1

The ministries do not monitor the implementation activities of bureaucracies/executive agencies.
Monitoring Agencies, Bureaucracies
8
Executive agencies’ competences and responsibilities are explicitly detailed in law, edicts, statutes and other regulations. Their activities are not only subject to legal, but also to functional supervision, meaning that agencies’ decisions and administrative instructions will be reviewed. However, the ministries have not always made appropriate use of their oversight mechanism. A number of independent agencies, including the Federal Employment Office, the Federal Network Agency, the Bundesbank and others have deliberately been placed beyond the effective control of the federal government. It is important that monitoring agencies maintain organizational independence, so that they may monitor government effectiveness and financial impacts. The National Regulatory Control Council has tried to increase its powers over legislative and bureaucratic processes at federal and state levels.

To what extent does the central government ensure that tasks delegated to subnational self-governments are adequately funded?

10
 9

The central government enables subnational self-governments to fulfill all their delegated tasks by funding these tasks sufficiently and/or by providing adequate revenue-raising powers.
 8
 7
 6


The central government enables subnational governments to fulfill most of their delegated tasks by funding these tasks sufficiently and/or by providing adequate revenue-raising powers.
 5
 4
 3


The central government sometimes and deliberately shifts unfunded mandates to subnational governments.
 2
 1

The central government often and deliberately shifts unfunded mandates to subnational self-governments.
Task Funding
7
The delegation of tasks from the national to the subnational level without commensurate funding has been a sore point of German fiscal federalism. For instance, municipalities suffer under the weight of increasing costs of welfare programs. However, a number of adjustments over the last years have substantially rejuvenated municipalities and states. The Hartz IV reform, which merged welfare benefits with unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed, shifted minimum income payments for individuals capable of work from municipalities to the Federal Employment Agency. In 2009, the federal government began compensating municipalities for basic income support provided to pensioners, the percentage of which reached 100% in 2014. Financial burdens associated with education and childcare have also been shifted to the federal level.

For months, the federal government and state (Länder) governments wrangled over the costs associated with the influx of migrants and refugees. In July 2016, the federal government increased the flat-rate payment for integration by about €8 billion by 2018, which is an exceptional improvement.

With respect to the future of the fiscal equalization system, an important compromise on the new system (in effect from 2020 onwards) was achieved in October 2016. In this compromise, the Länder receive higher shares of VAT revenues and a system of exclusively vertical equalization payments (from the federal to the state level) is replacing the current horizontal system (where richer states pay to poorer states).

Taken together, a comprehensive shift of financial resources from the federal to the state and municipal level has been achieved and remains under way. Complaints from the Länder about underfunding increasingly lack credibility.

Citations:
http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/fluechtlinge-laender-bekommen-sieben-milliarden-euro-mehr-a-1101934-druck.html

To what extent does central government ensure that subnational self-governments may use their constitutional scope of discretion with regard to implementation?

10
 9

The central government enables subnational self-governments to make full use of their constitutional scope of discretion with regard to implementation.
 8
 7
 6


Central government policies inadvertently limit the subnational self-governments’ scope of discretion with regard to implementation.
 5
 4
 3


The central government formally respects the constitutional autonomy of subnational self-governments, but de facto narrows their scope of discretion with regard to implementation.
 2
 1

The central government deliberately precludes subnational self-governments from making use of their constitutionally provided implementation autonomy.
Constitutional Discretion
8
The allocation of tasks and responsibilities between the federal and state governments is defined in the Basic Law. Thus, police functions, cultural tasks, and education, including both schools and universities, are the responsibility of the states. This distribution of tasks is largely respected by the federal government. A far-reaching equalization system and an ongoing shift of tax revenues from the federal to the state level has also been improving the financial capabilities of states to fulfill these tasks (see Task Funding).

To what extent does central government ensure that subnational self-governments realize national standards of public services?

10
 9

Central government effectively ensures that subnational self-governments realize national standards of public services.
 8
 7
 6


Central government largely ensures that subnational self-governments realize national standards of public services.
 5
 4
 3


Central government ensures that subnational self-governments realize national minimum standards of public services.
 2
 1

Central government does not ensure that subnational self-governments realize national standards of public services.
National Standards
7
In Germany, public services are provided by various levels of government: the federal administration, the administrations of federal states, municipalities, indirect public administrations (institutions subject to public law with specific tasks, particularly in the area of social security), nonpublic and nonprofit institutions (e.g., kindergartens or youth centers), and finally judicial administrations. While some standards have a national character and thus have to be respected at all levels, this is not the case in areas, such as education.

Adaptability

#9

To what extent does the government respond to international and supranational developments by adapting domestic government structures?

10
 9

The government has appropriately and effectively adapted domestic government structures to international and supranational developments.
 8
 7
 6


In many cases, the government has adapted domestic government structures to international and supranational developments.
 5
 4
 3


In some cases, the government has adapted domestic government structures to international and supranational.
 2
 1

The government has not adapted domestic government structures no matter how useful adaptation might be.
Domestic Adaptability
6
As in other EU countries, EU regulations have a significant impact on German legislation. The country’s legal system is heavily influenced by EU law, but the federal government does not have a central policy unit specifically coordinating and managing EU affairs. Each federal ministry is responsible for all matters within its sectoral purview related to the adoption, implementation and coordination of proposals by the European Commission. Federal structures present specific problems in terms of policy learning and adaptability to international and supranational developments. In general, Germany did not seriously attempt to adopt government structures to the changing national, inter- and transnational context.

To what extent is the government able to collaborate effectively in international efforts to foster global public goods?

10
 9

The government can take a leading role in shaping and implementing collective efforts to provide global public goods. It is able to ensure coherence in national policies affecting progress.
 8
 7
 6


The government is largely able to shape and implement collective efforts to provide global public goods. Existing processes enabling the government to ensure coherence in national policies affecting progress are, for the most part, effective.
 5
 4
 3


The government is partially able to shape and implement collective efforts to provide global public goods. Processes designed to ensure coherence in national policies affecting progress show deficiencies.
 2
 1

The government does not have sufficient institutional capacities to shape and implement collective efforts to provide global public goods. It does not have effective processes to ensure coherence in national policies affecting progress.
International Coordination
9
The German government actively collaborates in various reform efforts promoted by the European Union, and other transnational and international organizations. In the context of the still ongoing euro zone debt crisis, the German government has played a leading role in organizing and creating stabilization mechanisms. The government strongly cooperated with European partners, particularly France, other countries, such as the United States, and international organizations in addressing the Crimea crisis and civil war in eastern Ukraine.

According to some observers, the great exception is the migration crisis, which Germany handled unilaterally. Only after Germany had opened its borders to the refugees coming from Hungary and other European states did the government start negotiating with other EU countries and the European Union to develop refugee quotas. Proponents argue that Germany’s policy was well justified given its legal and humanitarian obligations. According to this view, Germany was ready to pay a high fiscal and political price for shouldering this humanitarian crisis. Based on this interpretation, the refugee crisis is an example where Germany is heavily involved in providing global public goods and acts in a non-selfish manner in-line with its international obligations.

Generally, Germany is a constructive partner in international reform initiatives, and is ready to accept substantial costs and risks in order to realize global and European public goods. It will be up to the next government to reaffirm this reputation with respect to far-reaching requests for European Union and euro zone reform from the European partners, in particular from France’s newly elected president, Emmanuel Macron.

Organizational Reform

#9

To what extent do actors within the government monitor whether institutional arrangements of governing are appropriate?

10
 9

The institutional arrangements of governing are monitored regularly and effectively.
 8
 7
 6


The institutional arrangements of governing are monitored regularly.
 5
 4
 3


The institutional arrangements of governing are selectively and sporadically monitored.
 2
 1

There is no monitoring.
Self-monitoring
7
There is neither a particular institution nor a commission that independently and impartially operates as an oversight body with respect to governmental activities. In addition, institutional self-monitoring capacities are still low. However, the creation of the Better Regulation Unit in the Chancellery and the extension of the competences of the National Regulatory Control Council (Normenkontrollrat, NKR) – an independent advisory body – have strengthened the capacities for self-monitoring.

To what extent does the government improve its strategic capacity by changing the institutional arrangements of governing?

10
 9

The government improves its strategic capacity considerably by changing its institutional arrangements.
 8
 7
 6


The government improves its strategic capacity by changing its institutional arrangements.
 5
 4
 3


The government does not improve its strategic capacity by changing its institutional arrangements.
 2
 1

The government loses strategic capacity by changing its institutional arrangements.
Institutional Reform
8
In general, institutional reforms intended to improve the government’s management capacities are extremely rare. As in other countries, strategic capacities and reform efforts are heavily influenced by constitutional and public-governance structures and traditions. The federal system assigns considerable independent authority to the states. In turn, the states have a crucial role in implementing federal legislation. This creates a complex environment with many institutional veto players across different levels. Institutional and organizational inertia spells for low levels of strategic capacity. The German Federalism Reforms, which together represent one of the more far-reaching institutional changes of recent years, have started to have an impact on the adaptability of the federal politics (Reus/Zohlnhöfer 2015).

In 2016, the federal level and the states reached an agreement on the next steps for federal reform. The federal level will from 2020 shift substantial resources to the states and, in return, will gain more competences, mainly in tax administration.

Citations:
http://www.zeit.de/politik/deutschland/2016-12/angela-merkel-bund-laender-einigung-finanzreform

Iris Reus/Reimut Zohlnhöfer, 2015: Die christlich-liberale Koalition als Nutznießer der Föderalismusreform? Die Rolle des Bundesrates und die Entwicklung des Föderalismus unter der zweiten Regierung Merkel, in: Reimut Zohlnhöfer and Thomas Saalfeld (eds.): Politik im Schatten der Krise. Eine Bilanz der Regierung Merkel, 2009-2013, Wiesbaden: Springer VS, 245-272:

Dominic Heinz, 2016: Coordination in budget policy after the Second Federal Reform: Beyond Unity and Diversity, in: German Politics 25 (2), 286-300.
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