The distribution of responsibilities


The distribution of competences in German cooperative federalism is administrative, not dual:

Most policy areas are subject to concurrent legislation by the Federation and the Länder. Until then, this meant that the Federation shaped the framework conditions, the Länder supplemented them with their own laws; above all, however, they are the bearers of state administration. The difficulty with such a state structure is to limit the depth of detail of the central decisions in such a way that there is sufficient room for manoeuvre at the level of the constituent states, i.e. the Länder, for their own decisions and laws. Such a distribution must therefore be constantly rebalanced under changing circumstances. The legal distribution of competences is overlaid by the question of financial distribution, which is decisive for the actual fulfilment of competences.

Against this backdrop, the obligation to approve federal laws has been extended more and more. The growing criticism of German federalism was directed at unitarisation, policy interdependence and the so-called participatory federalism of the executives at the expense of the parliaments.

In view of the fact that, for example, there is no transparency in questions of responsibility in the federal states for the activities of monitoring organisations within the framework of the Road Traffic Licensing Regulations (StVZO), there seems to be arbitrariness in their activities. In other words, there is no market surveillance and the competence and responsibility for the citizen between the federal and state governments is no longer recognisable. In general, the question arises as to why there is still a division of responsibility between the federal government and the states. In any case, clear structures are not recognisable for the citizen. Thus, citizens are sent with their questions to a supposedly responsible authority and then to Pontius Pilate.

However, once a contact point or department has been found after a long search and written to, it happens more and more often that there is no answer. Therefore, the question must be asked once again of the federal states and their employees: do they not want to be there for the citizens, or are they simply overwhelmed? The GAGT e.V. therefore demands that they vow to do better in the future and create more transparency for responsibilities in their authorities and/or departments, after all, the citizens (taxpayers) are their employers and no one else.


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