Representative Study in Germany Attests Urgent Need for Open Government

Earlier this year, on February 28, a Berlin working group introduced the results of a representative study carried out to measure public perception in Germany of transparency and open government measures. The working group, consisting of representatives from a small number of NGOs active in open government advocacy (see our previous article), presented the study during an evening event with prominent guests from civil society and parliament, boasted by a double discussion panel. The group’s declared goal is to raise awareness for the Open Government Partnership, which just held its annual conference in Brasilia, Brazil, and put pressure on the German government to join that partnership. Over 50 countries world-wide have already done so, but many EU countries, among them Germany and Austria, have not.

The study attests urgent need for action in a number of policy areas. Most prominently among the results, the need for more transparency in campaign finance and politician’s expenses. The scandal around Germany’s former federal president Christian Wulff, who stepped down amid corruption allegations a few weeks ago, was certainly influential on the results of the study.

The results of a representative survey conducted by TNS Emnid are in short:

  • Almost all respondents would welcome a more open structuring of politics and the administration as well as closer consultation
  • Transparency, participation and collaboration are found to rise in significance. Respondents see the fight against corruption as the issue gaining the most in importance, followed by participation, transparency and accountability.
  • Urgent need for action in all sectors of Open Government is indicated in the findings through the differences in the valuation of importance and satisfaction.

You can download the study here.Basically, a number of questions were asked in the areas of transparency, accountability, participation, corruption, and they were contrasted by asking what the level of satisfaction is with the current state of affairs, and by asking how relevant respondents saw action in these areas. The result was astounding, but not surprising. In all answer areas, respondents thought the issues to be highly relevant while at the same time satisfaction with the current state of affairs was very low:


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