For years, open data activists have criticized the fact that laws are not free and widely accessible to the public. The project for the “e-announcement” has now been postponed indefinitely.
Berlin (dpa) – The legally binding digital publication of laws in Germany will not start in early 2022, as originally planned. This is evident from a response from the federal government to a request from the left-wing MP Anke Domscheit-Berg, which is available to the German news agency.
The Federal Ministry of Justice now assumes that the first phase of implementation will be reached in the first quarter of 2023. The federal government no longer sets a deadline for the full extension of the “e-proclamation”.
The digitization of the legislative process was an important project of the black-and-red government coalition. With the “e-proclamation” the content of the law must be available uniformly and above all free of charge to all citizens. So far, new laws have been announced in the Federal Government Gazette and will not come into effect until published there. The Federal Law Gazette is published by the private Bundesanzeiger Verlag and is taxable in its expanded, researchable, and printable version. This procedure has been criticized for years by open data activists.
In December 2018, then-Federal Attorney General Katarina Barley (SPD) promised in a newspaper interview, “We will digitally publish laws and regulations without restriction in the future.” The electronic Federal Government Gazette will then contain the only binding version of laws and regulations. The ministry justified the delay, among other things, by the fact that the Federal Office of Justice, which will be responsible for the promulgation in the future, has urgently requested «the postponement of the test and the actual functioning of the announcement platform, as a significant foreseeable end of the legislature. Load peak with many and sometimes hasty announcements will have to be absorbed ».
Domscheit-Berg strongly criticized the delay: “The federal government just can’t digitize the administration.” It wasn’t until she asked for it that the government announced that the implementation would be further delayed. Giving citizens free and functional digital access to new laws and regulations “obviously is not a priority, as the project was postponed to the current election period in the last election period”. Now the responsibility is once again left to a new government.