The less bureaucracy the better: student Christian Guth from Berlin couldn’t agree more. He’s one of the approx. four million students at secondary schools and universities in Germany who receive state financial support for their education under the Federal Training Assistance Act (abbreviated to BAföG in German). BAföG is a good thing – except that for a long time the application process was very complicated. Take Christian Guth, for example. He had to spend a lot of time and effort filling in lots of papers on a regular basis – just to get the cash injection he needed for his studies. In the meantime, however, the Federal Government has simplified the law on student loans and improved the application process.
“Make it simpler, easier to understand, more effective – and only regulate what really needs to be regulated.” The Federal Government has been working according to these principles for six years now with its “Programme for the Reduction of Bureaucracy and Better Regulation”. The aim is to restrict state red tape. “A citizen-friendly administration, transparent procedures and a modern regulatory framework – these are the hallmarks of a strong state that cares about economic growth and employment,” emphasizes Chancellor Angela Merkel. In practice this means simplifying laws and regulations, making forms easier to understand, and being able to submit applications electronically. To date, more than 400 laws and regulations have been revised and annual costs cut by up to €12 billion.
An international conference will also be held soon at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin on the subject of reducing bureaucracy and improving regulation. Decision-makers from the spheres of politics and business, as well as experts in administration, academia and the civil society, are invited to discuss solutions to improve the law from 31 January until 1 February 2013. Particular attention will be paid to financial-market and energy-market regulation, the growing importance of citizen participation, and the work of governments and parliaments on improving regulation.
International Regulatory Reform Conference 2013 (IRRC 2013) from 31 January to 1 February in Berlin