Federal official urges Germany to embrace digital platforms

A top Federal policymaker has called for Germany to be more open-minded and find ways to work with digital platforms such as Airbnb, according to press reports* this week.

Dorothee Bär, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, said at an event in Berlin this week that German mentality, not politics, is the biggest obstacle to digital progress, and that the biggest challenge is how to convince the country to use this new digital technology: “People are scared of it and don’t see the advantages.”

In her comments, she denied that Germany isn’t open and welcoming to the sharing economy, noting that Airbnb is treated more strictly in Berlin than in the rest of Germany.

We agree with Parliamentary State Secretary Bär: Germany can benefit from more discussion and education about the potential for digital platforms to benefit local people, local businesses and local communities. But we would add that clear, fair legal frameworks are also part of that solution.

The remarks from Bär follow comments made last month by Berlin’s Secretary for Building and Housing, who said Berliners are free to share spare rooms in their home on Airbnb providing that certain rules are followed.

We agree that residents of Berlin deserve the kind of fair rules that Germans in other cities already enjoy. We are working hard to clarify with policymakers what Berlin’s confusing housing law means for regular Berliners who occasionally share the homes in which they live.

We care deeply about Berlin – and the rest of Germany – and will continue working with policymakers on clear and simple rules that support home sharing, and allow everyone to benefit from the economic, social and environmental potential of the sharing economy.

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