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Advisory Boards

Introduction

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.

Tasks

The Board is tasked with providing the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy with independent advice on all aspects of economic policy. The Board sets its own agenda and meets five times a year. It submits the results of its deliberations in the form of expert opinions. These are published regularly. The Board was the first independent body providing academic policy advice in post-war Germany. It has gained an outstanding reputation for academic policy advice.

Origins

The roots of the "Board of Academic Advisors to the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy" reach back to the time of the Second World War. From 1943, some of the subsequent members of the Board held meetings chaired by Prof. Erwin von Beckerath in order to prepare for Germany's economic future following the war. This "Erwin von Beckerath working group" became the Board of Academic Advisors, which was established in early 1948 and was formally constituted on 23 January 1948 at the invitation of the Economic Administration of the Bizone, the predecessor of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, in Königstein/Taunus. The Advisory Board had 17 founding members, including Professors Franz Böhm, Walter Eucken, Alfred Müller-Armack, Oswald v. Nell-Breuning, Erich Preiser and Karl Schiller.

Members

The Board currently has 38 members. They are all academics teaching at higher education institutions in the field of economics or law. They are appointed and discharged from the Board at the proposal of the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy.

Tasks

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. 

Origins

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.

Members

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.

Tasks

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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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 information and communication technology 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.

Tasks

The Advisory Board on External Economic Relations provides ongoing advice to the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy on issues relating to external economic policy, such as foreign trade, foreign direct investment, technology transfer and industrial cooperation, and provides suggestions for external economic policy. It usually meets with the minister twice a year.

Members

The Advisory Board on External Economic Relations includes experts from almost all sectors of the German economy (e.g. trade, banking, industry, agriculture). The members have experience in the field of foreign trade and investment, but are not lobbyists from business associations. They are appointed by the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy for a period of three years. The board is chaired by Dr Sabine Stricker-Kellerer (SSK Asia, Munich). The minister and the chair can invite officials from the ministries or other experts to attend the meetings.

Tasks

The tourism advisory board at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy was established as a forum for bringing together the interests of government, business, academia, municipal authorities and associations. Its main task is to advise the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy and to support his work with expert reports.

Members

Board members are representatives of tourism-related businesses, umbrella associations for the tourism industry, transport companies, the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), municipalities, trade unions, the media and academia. Memberships are honorary personal appointments; as a result, members may not appoint representatives to serve in their place.

Origins

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.

Tasks

The Accreditation Advisory Board supports and advises the Federal Government and the national accreditation body (Deutsche Akkreditierungsstelle GmbH (DAkkS)) 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) - (www.european-accreditation.org).

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.

Members

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: www.akb.bam.de (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 www.dakks.de.

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)..