Federal Government tricks on consultant costs – SPIEGEL ONLINE

Friday, 06.12.2019
16:04 clock

The high government expenditures for external advisers provide again and again for discussions in the federal politics. Now, a report to the Bundestag shows that the Federal Government is tricking in setting up its spending on advisory services.

According to their annual report to the Budget Committee of the Bundestag, all ministries together allegedly spent only EUR 175 million in 2018 for external consultants. In reality, it should be significantly more.

  For example, the Federal Environment Ministry reported expenditure of over 81,000 euros. However, the Federal Court of Auditors had already come to the conclusion in October that the department of Svenja Schulze (SPD) had paid at least 600 million euros for "support services" in the years 2014 to 2018.

  The situation is similar with the Ministry of Defense. According to the official report, the resort issued 2018 only 7.1 million euros for consultants. In November of last year ran throughout the House but contracts for "advisory and support services" worth 207.4 million euros, as the Ministry revealed on request at that time.

  The discrepancy is based on SPIEGEL information from the different definition of what advisory services should be. The ministries rely in the annual report on such a narrow interpretation that many benefits fall out. In the Ministry of the Environment, for example, "work contracts" with external parties are not included. The Federal Court of Auditors considers this practice to be "unsuitable" because it depends solely on the content of the advisory service.

Green Housekeeper is outraged

  Many ministries are apparently no longer able to fulfill their tasks without external expertise. How much the authorities spend on the consultants and how the contracts come about often remains unclear.

  A committee of inquiry in the Bundestag is currently illuminating the consultant affair in the Ministry of Defense. Under Ursula von der Leyen (CDU), the ministry had awarded hundreds of millions of euros in consultancy contracts – in some cases unlawful. Most recently, the Ministry of the Environment was targeted by the Federal Court of Auditors because of disguised expenditure.

  Despite the number cosmetics, the current report to the Committee on Budgets should at least come a step closer to reality than previous statements. In recent years, the published figures were much lower. For example, the ministries reported only 32 million euros in 2014, compared to 38 million euros a year later.

  The Green Housekeeper Sven-Christian Kindler still called the annual report as "impudence". The government concealed "specifically the true extent of external advice," said Kindler. He calls for uniform rules for all ministries so that all contracts are published.


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