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Advisory Boards at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy


The advisory boards at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy consist of experts who advise the minister on specific aspects of economic policy. The experts on the advisory boards work on an honorary basis.

The Board of Academic Advisors gives the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy independent advice on all aspects of economic policy. The 38 academics meet five times a year, discuss topics of their own choice, and then publish their findings in the form of expertises.

Minister Altmaier and the members of the SME Advisory Board

Minister Altmaier and the members of the SME Advisory Board

© BMWi/Susanne Eriksson


The SME advisory board at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy focuses on the current situation and future economic prospects facing small and medium-sized businesses as well as professional services. The board advises the Federal Minister on the impacts that structural changes in the domestic and global economy are likely to have on SMEs. In addition, it analyses the effects that current domestic economic policies are having on the SME sector. The members of the board may set up working groups and submit the results of their deliberations in the form of resolutions. 


The SME Advisory Board was set up in response to a motion by the Bundestag Committee of 7 May 1956 on Special Issues of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, following a request by Chancellor Konrad Adenauer. The first, constitutive meeting of the SME Advisory Board took place on 5 December 1956 and was chaired by Economics Minister Professor Dr. Ludwig Erhard. Since then, the members, who are appointed at the beginning of each term of legislation, usually meet twice a year in order to provide ideas about general SME-related issues.


The body is composed of people whose practical work and experience in the field of SME-related issues makes them particularly suited to such a task. The members of the boad (PDF: 19 KB) (in German) are not representatives of business associations, but are independent experts who represent only their personal opinion and are not bound by any instructions.

Further information

  • 11/03/2019 - Press release - Securing of Skilled Labour

    Altmaier lauds efforts of SMEs to integrate skilled workers from abroad

    Open detail view


The Young Digital Economy Advisory Board gives the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy first-hand advice on current issues of the digital transformation. The focus is on the development and potential of the young digital economy and new digital technologies in Germany. In view of the dynamism of the digital economy, the board is organised in a flexible and open manner. It aims to facilitate a direct and practical dialogue between policy makers and the young German digital and start-up community.

The digital economy is a key sector for the future of Germany’s economy. The major innovations in the digital economy around the world are sparked off by new, fast-growing IT firms. Germany also has a vibrant start-up scene with a lot of potential. It creates highly-qualified and forward-looking jobs, and is a driving force for innovation across large sections of Germany’s economy. The Young Digital Economy Advisory Board feeds thematic comments and recommendations for action into its practical expertise with a view to shaping a forward looking environment for the digital sector in Germany and Europe.

Focus on current issues

The Young Digital Economy Advisory Board focuses on current issues and produces comments on them.

  • Europe needs a digital boost from Germany and France
    The Young Digital Economy Advisory Board in the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and France’s Conseil national du numérique (CNNum) share the belief that France and Germany in particular need to work together to give a fresh boost to the development of a digital Europe. In a joint letter to Germany’s Economic Affairs Minister Peter Altmaier and his French counterpart Bruno Le Maire, they therefore call for the holding of a third Franco-German Digital Conference following the ones in Paris in 2015 and in Berlin in 2016.
    Joint letter from the Advisory Board and the Conseil national (PDF, 2 MB).
  • Artificial intelligence
    The Young Digital Economy Advisory Board welcomes the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy announced by the Federal Government, but urges that it be implemented thoroughly, since the use of AI applications in industry, in corporate, process and product data, is still in its comparative infancy. For this reason, it is now necessary to roll out the €3 billion programme quickly and to prioritise the series of planned measures. In this regard, the Young Digital Economy Advisory Board proposes prioritising the elements set out in its position paper as a rapid three-pillar programme for the AI Strategy and to revisit the design of the announced measures.
    Comments by the Advisory Board (in German). (PDF, 571 KB)
  • Regulation
    The Advisory Board has produced a position paper on regulation. It finds that it is not possible to divide regulation into “black and white” or “good and bad”: regulation can be both a help and a hindrance, and particularly with regard to digital start-ups there is a need to examine each individual case, because it is very easy here to achieve the opposite of what was intended. The paper says that it is crucial that rules are not shaped as prohibitions which stifle Germany’s own digital players, but rather deliver an incentive for greater entrepreneurial activity within and beyond the digital industry. Against this background, the Advisory Board has collected examples of where regulation appears useful in terms of young digital start-ups and where this is not the case.
    Comments by the Advisory Board (in German). (PDF, 231 KB)
  • Fostering digital innovation
    The Advisory Board has produced a position paper on the “German Foundation for Digital Innovation”. It says that the success of digitisation in Germany, and thus “the” economic factor for the future. will depend, also for our start-ups, on whether we keep people on board, address their fears appropriately rather than stoking them, and place the focus on the benefits of digital innovations. For this reason, digitisation needs to be shaped in such a way that all 82 million people in Germany benefit from it. The Advisory Board therefore proposes the establishment of a national foundation to foster digital innovation – along the lines of Nesta in the UK. This German Foundation for Digital Innovation should support new ideas which can use digital technologies to address the big three societal issues: resources, ecology and health, and help people to experience what benefits they can deliver.
    Comments by the Advisory Board (in German). (PDF, 569 KB)

  • eHealth/digital health
    eHealth, or digital health, involves the evolutionary merging of medical knowledge with IT solutions to maintain and improve human health. The Young Digital Economy Advisory Board issued a position paper on 13 June 2017 calling for the 2017 Digital Summit to establish adequate funding programmes and certification procedures, particularly in response to the needs of innovative eHealth start-ups.
    Comments by the Advisory Board (in German). (PDF, 557 KB)

  • Digital education
    Digital education forms the basis for the digital age! For this reason, the Young Digital Economy Advisory Board calls in its comments of 14 November 2016 for more teaching of digital skills in schools and in higher education.
    Comments by the Advisory Board (in German). (PDF, 404 KB)

  • Immigration
    Following its meeting in Berlin on 29 September 2015, the Young Digital Economy Advisory Board called for the rising number of refugees to be regarded as an opportunity, particularly for the digital industry.
    Comments by the Advisory Board (in German). (PDF, 121 KB)

  • EU internal market
    In its paper of 29 September 2015, the Advisory Board proposes specific measures to strengthen digital skills in SMEs in a single European market.
    Comments by the Advisory Board (in German). (PDF, 146 KB)

  • Net neutrality
    In its comments of 2 November 2015, the Advisory Board calls for the upholding of net neutrality - particularly so that online start-ups do not suffer technical, access-related or financial disadvantages compared with their established rivals delivering digital business models.
    Comments by the Advisory Board (in German). (PDF, 224 KB)

Central milestones

  • On 6 September 2017, the Young Digital Economy Advisory Board presented a paper of recommendations for the 19th legislative term to former Economic Affairs Minister Brigitte Zypries. In it, the members propose improvements in the general policy environment for young digital start-ups.
  • In October 2015 and December 2016, the Young Digital Economy Advisory Board and its French counterpart, the Conseil national du numérique (CNNum), presented an Action Plan for Digital Innovation and Digital Transformation in Europe, and also the Paper entitled “Digitalisation is key for Europe” to the then ministers Gabriel and Sapin. Whilst the Action Plan offers suggestions on how to strengthen an internationally competitive European digital industry, the catalogue of measures contains six specific proposals for a common digital single market in Europe.
  • The Young Digital Economy Advisory Board launched its nationwide campaign on 15 September 2014 to raise the profile of women entrepreneurs and encourage others to follow their example.

Composition of the Advisory Board: from digital start-ups to investors

The members of the Advisory Board are company founders and young IT entrepreneurs from the start-up community, representatives of established information and communication technology (ICT) companies, and investors. They can draw on particular expertise and experience in the field of the digital economy and have already gained a reputation as experts with profound experience and expertise in the start-up scene. Membership of the Board is a personal honorary office; deputies may not participate.

Prof. Dr. Tobias Kollmann, professor for eBusiness and eEntrepreneurship at Duisburg-Essen University, chairs the Advisory Board. The chair serves as an important intermediary between government and the digital sector in Germany.


The Advisory Council for Tourism Matters at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is tasked with advising the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy on tourism policy issues.


The Advisory Council consists of representatives from enterprises and associations of various parts of the tourism industry, transport companies, destinations and academia. Membership of the Board is a personal honorary office. The Advisory Council is appointed for the term of the current parliament. You can find an overview of the current members here (in German) (PDF, 9 KB).


The Advisory Board on Tourism Issues was established by a decree of the Federal Minister of Economics of 30 June 1977 which was confirmed in subsequent terms of legislation.

Further information


The Accreditation Advisory Board supports and advises the Federal Government and the national accreditation body (Deutsche Akkreditierungsstelle GmbH (DAkkS)[in German]) in all matters relating to accreditation. Its tasks include defining rules, promoting the use of accreditation as a means of building confidence within the context of conformity assessment, and coordinating German representation and Germany’s position at the meetings of the European co-operation for Accreditation (EA) - (

The Accreditation Advisory Board sets up specialist boards for various sectors. Their main task is to support the Accreditation Advisory Board in defining sector-specific rules.


The 16 members of the Accreditation Advisory Board were appointed by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy to serve from 2016 to 2019.

Coordinating Office of the Accreditation Advisory Board

The Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing hosts the Coordinating Office of the Accreditation Advisory Board: (in German).

Accreditation Body Act

The Accreditation Body Act entered into force in August 2009. Its provisions regulate matters such as the tasks and powers of the national accreditation body and the Accreditation Advisory Board.

According to Regulation (EC) No. 765/2008, accreditation is a sovereign activity. Deutsche Akkreditierungsstelle GmbH was entrusted with undertaking accreditations under the Accreditation Body Act ("entrusted entity"). Further information about accreditation in Germany can be found at

Further information

The TTIP Advisory Group set up by the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy held its inaugural meeting on 21 May 2014. The new group is to be composed of representatives of trade unions, of welfare, environmental and consumer protection associations, and of representatives of the cultural sector. The body is to discuss the ongoing negotiations on the planned Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and to contribute towards the establishment of the German position on TTIP. As the negotiations between the EU and the U.S. have been suspended, no further meetings are planned

Greater transparency boosts confidence

The group intensified the dialogue about the planned trade and investment partnership with the relevant stakeholders - including the agreement’s critics. It was able to enhance the level of transparency in the talks. The intensive dialogue on the ongoing negotiations in this and other discussion forums made it possible to take better account of the arguments of all the groups in society as the German government fed its position on TTIP into the negotiations.

The Economic Affairs Ministry has made additional information about TTIP available.

The members of the TTIP Advisory Group held a total of ten meetings. The focus was on important issues and relevant debates surrounding TTIP: including the creative arts, consumer protection, services of general interest, workers’ rights, regulatory cooperation, investment protection, developing countries and the free trade agreement between the EU and Canada (CETA).