We have already arrived in a digitised world. Digitisation affects not only traditional IT companies, but companies across the board, in all sectors. New and changed business models are emerging: cars are being shared via apps, languages learnt online, and music streamed. But industry is changing too: 3D printers make parts for machines, robots assemble them, and entire factories are intelligently connected with one another.
We need to make good use of these changes. Germany is a leading global economy with a vital industrial core, an outstandingly positioned Mittelstand and many clever, innovative brains, and offers the best structural preconditions for a digitalised economy.
Despite this, we need to work harder than ever to make sure we don’t miss out on the opportunities offered by the digital transformation. Young, innovative start-ups need capital, not just when they are set up, but particularly so that they can grow on the world market. Increasingly, digital skills and staff with digital training are key for the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises. In industry, smart production procedures can lead to higher productivity and efficiency. There is a need for assistance and support in all of these areas.
Taking control of the digital economy
Digitalisation leads not only to the creation of new products and services, but also to the disruption of traditional market concepts. The forthcoming 10th revision of the Act against Restraints of Competition is intended to further improve the regulatory framework for a digitalised economy. To this end, the Economic Affairs Ministry has commissioned a study into further modernisation of the supervision of anticompetitive behaviour, particularly in the digital economy. The findings of this study will feed into the revision of the Act against Restraints of Competition. Further to this envisaged revision of German competition law, the Federal Government set up the Commission ‘Competition Law 4.0’ to establish a legal policy platform for the further development of European competition law in particular. Find out more (in German).
We must actively manage digital transformation and introduce new, future-oriented rules governing the digital economy, the sharing economy and digital platforms (in German). In order to ensure that there is fair competition between these platforms and established market players, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action has launched a broad-based discussion process. A first outcome of this process was the publication of the White Paper on Digital Platforms which – based on the discussion – sets out clear proposals for digital regulatory policy. There are two aspects that are of key importance: First of all, we ought to create a level playing field for investment and innovation, which will generate inclusive growth. Secondly, we must protect people’s personal rights and their right to data sovereignty. Go to de.digital (in German) to find out more.
Policies for a digital society
A digital society needs modern infrastructure. Adopting modern internet policies means adopting fair and simple rules for digitalisation that ensure that consumers’ rights relating to the digital world can be enforced and that individuals and companies can harness the social and economic potential offered by digitalisation. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action has adopted a number of important internet policy initiatives and regulatory measures in order to ensure that individuals and companies can share in the benefits of technological progress and that funding is provided for new innovations. Click here to find out more about internet policies.