The SPD criticizes the “paper tiger” – SWR Actuell

How much time should pass between leaving politics and finding a new job in business? In BW, they stay in peace for a year and a half.

The government of the state of Baden-Württemberg wants to create a regulation concerning the change of politicians into the economy. So far it has been this: no one in this country can stop anyone who wants to move from government to business. Unlike the federal government and other Länder, there are no rules that prevent politicians with insider knowledge from quickly entering the economy.

The state’s green-and-black government wants to introduce a waiting period for members of the government who will move to work in the private sector. On Thursday, she presented a relevant bill on the waiting period in the state parliament.

From politics to business? One-year waiting period required

The green and black state government now wants to introduce a one-year waiting period – and in exceptional cases – even a year and a half. The state government decides that this waiting period will begin if the public interest is harmed by a job change.

The SPD and the FDP have criticized this “public interest” phrase as unclear. They fear that in the future, insider dealing with government liability may be turned into money.

Untersteller brought the topic back into the discussion

This is why outrage broke out when former Environment Minister Franz Untersteller (Greens) took on a new job as a consultant with the MVV energy supplier in Mannheim just nine months after leaving the government. However, it was not forbidden.

Minister of the Environment of Baden-Württemberg Franz Untersteller (Greens) (photo: dpa Bildfunk, picture Alliance / dpa | Marijan Murat)

Former Environment Minister BW Untersteller is to advise MVV on climate and environmental issues with immediate effect. This is met with criticism.

Possible waiting period of one and a half years

The Greens and the CDU have already decided to eliminate this white spot in the coalition agreement. In some cases it has stated that it should be possible to ban employment for 18 months after leaving office. According to its economic expert Boris Weirauch, the SPD already in 2020 presented the same idea as a bill.

The project presented by the ruling coalition is somewhat less stringent. It states that from 2023, ministers or secretaries of state will have to report new jobs to the government within the first year and a half after retiring from politics.

Criticism of the SPD: an important passage is missing

However, the SPD is not satisfied with the current proposal. In her opinion, an important regulation is missing, which the federal government and other states have done very well. It is about a substantive limitation: ministers or secretaries of state cannot work in the business area in which they previously worked in politics. For the green and black state government, however, this would amount to a ban on practicing. The Greens said they wanted to uphold the fundamental right to professional freedom. SPD state and parliamentary leader Andreas Stoch described the state government’s green-and-black project of waiting for government officials to depart as a “paper tiger.”

Boris Weirauch, SPD (photo: SPD parliamentary group)

Boris Weirauch (SPD) wants to prevent confidential information from migrating from politics to business.

parliamentary group of the SPD

This was the accusation against the former Minister Untersteller. He is exactly in the field for which he was previously responsible for ten years as minister, namely energy. SPD politician Weirauch demanded that Untersteller, as a consultant to MVV, could not use the information he obtained during his ministerial term to the detriment of other energy companies, such as EnBW.

What are the laws in other countries?

In 2015, the federal government decided that current or former ministers and parliamentary secretaries of state must submit their plans. A so-called waiting period committee then examines the matter and recommends a waiting period of 12 to 18 months in the event of a conflict of interest. The federal government then decides whether to allow a change of paid employment or other non-public sector work based on this expert recommendation.

Hamburg introduced the waiting period in 2014 – still ahead of the federal government. The maximum waiting time here is two years. Also in Brandenburg and Schleswig-Holstein, the waiting period is up to 24 months. The parliaments of the federal states of Bavaria and Saxony-Anhalt rejected the relevant regulations. Apart from Baden-Württemberg, the grace period does not apply in Bremen, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, and ranges from 12 to 18 months in the other federal states. All these regulations are considered individually. So there is no blanket prohibition against everything at a certain time.

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