In focus -

Advisory Boards


The advisory boards at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy are composed of panels of experts who advise the Federal Minister on special issues of economic policy. Memberships on these boards are honorary positions.


The Board of Academic Advisors is an independent body that advises the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy on all issues relating to economic policy. The board independently selects its topics of deliberation. and meets approximately six times a year.

The board submits the results of its work to the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy in the form of expert opinions, which are published regularly.


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.


The board currently consists of 41 scholars who are university instructors in the fields of economics and jurisprudence. They are appointed and removed by the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy upon recommendation by the board.


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. 

Members are nominated at the beginning of each legislative period, and the board typically meets twice a year to submit proposals on general issues concerning SMEs.


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.


Board members are selected primarily on the basis of their practical and professional experience SME-related issues. Moreover, they are not representatives of associations but rather serve as independent persons who represent only their personal views and are not bound by the instructions of others.


The "Young Digital Economy" Advisory Board gives the Federal Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy first-hand advice on current issues of the information and communication industry, and particularly on the development and potential of the young digital economy, new digital technologies in Germany, and on how to provide start-ups with a better environment in which to grow. In view of the dynamic nature of the digital economy, it is flexible and open and offers the German start-up scene a direct and practical dialogue with policy-makers.


The young internet and technology sector is a key sector for the future of Germany's economy. The major innovations in the web economy around the world are sparked off by new, fast-growing IT firms. Germany also has a start-up scene with a lot of potential. It creates highly-qualified and forward-looking jobs, and is a driving force for innovation and growth across large sections of Germany's economy. For this reason, the establishment of a "Young Digital Economy" Advisory Board was announced at the IT summit in Essen on 13 November 2012 as part of the Digital Economy Action Programme, the aim being to strengthen the young digital economy in Germany.


The Board's members are IT entrepreneurs in the start-up scene, representatives of established 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.


The external economic relations advisory board advises the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy on key issues relating to Germany's economic relations with other countries and regions (for example foreign trade, direct investment, technology transfer and industrial cooperation) and makes proposals on external economic policy. The board convenes twice a year in meetings attended by the Minister.


The five-member Council of Experts on Foreign Trade was set up by Ludwig Erhard in 1946 and later became the Advisory Board on Foreign Trade. In 1947, the Council of Experts on Foreign Trade was reformed as the 20-member Advisory Board on Foreign Trade for the American and British occupied territory. The Board held its first official meeting on 14 and 15 May 1947. In 1974, the Board was renamed the Advisory Board on Foreign Trade and Payments. The intention of the redesignation was show that German external economic relations do not consist solely of trade, but also of foreign direct investment, technology transfer, industrial co-operation, etc.


The external economic relations advisory board is a committee of experts representing almost every sector of the German economy (retail, banking, industry, agriculture, etc.). Board members have extensive experience in external economic relations and do not serve on the board as representatives of business associations. The members (currently 25) are nominated by the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy. Terms of service are voluntary and limited to three years.

Themes covered at past meetings

In recent years, the discussions of the Advisory Board on Foreign Trade and Payments mainly focused on questions like:

  • international competitiveness of German trade and industry
  • German foreign direct investment
  • global competition for raw materials
  • multilateral trade policy (WTO Doha Round)
  • New Transatlantic Economic Partnership
  • rise of the emerging economies
  • effects of the U.S. financial crisis


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.


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.


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.

At the beginning of 2010, the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (now: Federal Minstry for Economic Affairs and Energy) set up an Accreditation Advisory Board in accordance with the Accreditation Body Act.


The Accreditation Advisory Board supports and advises the Federal Government and the national accreditation body in all matters relating to accreditation. Its tasks include defining rules, promoting the use of the 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 2013 to 2016.

Coordinating Office of the Accreditation Advisory Board

The Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing is responsible for the Coordinating Office of the Accreditation Advisory Board.

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

Accreditation Advisory Board 2006-2009

The Accreditation Advisory Board which existed from 2006-2009 was replaced by the new Accreditation Advisory Board and has ceased to function.

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.

Minister Gabriel said: "We aim to further intensify the dialogue about the planned trade and investment partnership with the relevant stakeholders - including the agreement's critics. We want to ensure greater transparency, because that will boost confidence in the talks on TTIP. In order to achieve this, I have set up the new TTIP Advisory Group. The intensive dialogue on the ongoing TTIP negotiations in this and other discussion forums enables us to take better account of the arguments of all the groups in society as the German government feeds its position on TTIP into the negotiations."

Since the beginning of the negotiations, the Economic Affairs Ministry has been offering an expert dialogue with a wide variety of groups in society covering the various issues of the TTIP talks.