Digital Platforms – the German Policy Perspective

By | May 3, 2017

The White Paper produced by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy makes for fascinating reading.

This is the equivalent of the UK’s Treasury taking over the reigns of digital policy and recognising that digital platforms are not some subset of industrial or cultural policy.

In an economy renowned for for its manufacturing strengths, the Ministry understands that digital platforms are creating new rules for economic activity.  In facilitating and promoting new platforms the Ministry also understands that their growth and size are ‘more important than short-term profitability‘.

With classic Germanic thoroughness, ‘A period of four months was deliberately set for the consultation phase in order to give business representatives, associations and interested parties from all areas of society enough time to contribute their ideas. They had various channels for this.  The response was overwhelming: almost 65,000 visits to the online participation portal, 263 contributions and 10,464 assessments were received. In addition, 70 extensive opinions were submitted by businesses, industrial associations, trade unions, non-profit organisations, the scientific community and the general public. Finally, we held five workshops on the future shaping of a regulatory framework for digital platforms together with experts from industry, science, the civil society and politics. The White Paper is the result of this consultation process.’

Recommended reading for students of comparative policy.