Germany’s analogue admin is even annoying Chancellor Scholz

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Chancellor Olaf Scholz has found himself caught in the sticky web of Germany’s notoriously outdated administrative processes, he told a conference on digitalization on Thursday.

Scholz had to go and apply for a passport and ID card in person because it was not possible online, the chancellor told the re:publica digital conference in Berlin.

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“I drove by there, there was no other way,” he said, adding that he would like to see such services offered via the internet in the future.

Scholz said Germany had some catching up to do on digitalization and admitted he was “really surprised” when he recently learned that some of the country’s immigration authorities had shelved plans to put more procedures online.

“I can only say that’s not the way to go,” he said.

Though known for being at the forefront of many technologically advanced industries, Europe’s biggest economy has long been criticized for lagging behind when it comes to digitalization.

The German weekly WirtschaftsWoche reported this week that the chancellery has no secure line for video calls, meaning Scholz has to get in a car to the defense ministry whenever he has to take part in a sensitive NATO teleconference.

A solution is envisaged for late 2023, the paper said.

Last year, it emerged that some 1,600 fax machines were still lurking in Berlin’s Bundestag house of parliament as the government announced it was finally planning to get rid of them.

In another throwback to the 1980s, Berlin also announced with some fanfare last year that teachers would finally be getting their own email addresses.

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