The SPD, the Greens and the Left are sticking to their timetable for passing a transparency law by the end of 2022. “It is important that the Transparency Act gets underway before the end of this year. We will implement it like this,” said Jan Lehmann, spokesman for digitization and data protection for the SPD parliamentary group, on Thursday in the House of Representatives. His counterparts from the Greens and Left, Stefan Ziller and Tobias Schulze, confirmed the schedule. Schulze announced that a corresponding draft would be submitted in the fall.
The reason for the debate was a service by the FDP. This had submitted its own draft of a transparency law, which was closely based on the proposal of the initiative “referendum transparency law” and accused the coalition of delaying the project.
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Roman-Francesco Rogat, digitization expert for the FDP parliamentary group, said on Thursday that the delay in the legislative process did not meet the city’s requirements. Rogat spoke of “impudence” and went on to say that transparency in administrative action is not a niche issue, but one that moves Berliners. He accused the Senate and the coalition of a “reluctance to deal with this issue”.
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In fact, the new and old coalition partners had already planned to pass a transparency law in the last legislature – and had failed. Schulze admitted that the coalition was “on the home straight before the elections”, but then “got stuck in various areas”.
There were differences mainly because of numerous area exceptions provided for in the Senate’s draft law. For example, exceptions to the obligation to publish should be enshrined in the law in the school sector. Left and Greens didn’t want to accept that, and the SPD didn’t want to do without it.
According to the announcements made on Thursday, this knot is now being broken. “We will have to discuss area exceptions,” explained Lehmann and signaled a willingness to compromise. Ziller explained that the coalition wants to take Hamburg as an example, where there has been a transparency law since 2012.
Schulze explained that there were already “two very good templates”, the preparatory work and talks were going on, and a draft should be debated in the fall. In addition, he promised that the position of Berlin Commissioner for Data Protection and Information Security, which had been vacant since October, would be filled soon.