Berlin administration reform: The way is the goal - opinion

What helps a piece of paper, if the approval of a new car is an adventure, if the marriage happiness fails on a date at the registry office – or if people from the public office strained look as soon as disorderly on the streets of Berlin? It helps when the Senate and districts start implementing wise concepts for administrative reform.

Since the founding of the unified community of Berlin 99 years ago, the Berlin administration has been repeatedly turned upside down. All reforms, whether successful or unsuccessful, had one thing in common: the two-tiered administration with the municipal autonomous districts and a ministerial-controlling senate was only seriously attacked twice – under the Nazis and in the capital of the GDR. Those who want to modernize the public service of Berlin under democratic conditions and bring it closer to the citizens must put the senate and districts on a boat. To row and steer together.

The Future Pact, which was solemnly signed on Tuesday, stands for this willingness to cooperate throughout the city

The Future Pact, which was solemnly signed on Tuesday, stands for this willingness to cooperate throughout the city. It is an attempt to counteract the centrifugal forces of regional and party political interests. If this succeeds, it would be a milestone on the way to better management. For a reform that promises success, the circumstances are quite favorable. There are still human and financial resources to do reconstruction work. And the insight is there that it will not go on in Berlin.

The Berlin authorities should offer citizens and businesses better and faster service.Photo: Wolfgang Kumm / dpa

The city is growing explosively, and with it the demands of the citizens and the private economy for a functioning community. That's just an image question at the edge. It's about social welfare and economic competitiveness, it's about security and order, and ultimately it's about getting swift people a new pass shortly before the Caribbean cruise. And as digital as possible.

After a long period of confused patchwork that marked the transition from tough public-sector austerity policies to the challenges of the burgeoning city, new hope sprouts. 27 reform projects were filtered out in a laborious discourse, from A as attractive employer to Z as sustainable regulatory agencies.

For good reforms, pragmatists have to work

When the Berlin may notice that something good was set in motion, however, is open. First, the outdated, technically weak and poorly organized administration must be strengthened from within. This applies to both the districts and the Senate. Only when this succeeds can the administration better fulfill its role as a whole.

The Berliners were therefore advised to continue to have patience. The route is the goal. The Berlin administration will have to change more and more. Good reforms are not for ideologues, because pragmatists have to put up with the frustration. With great suspicion one should meet those who now miss the big litter. The call for centralization, that is, after the abolition of districts, is such a convenient idea. Berlin is simply a self-organizing organism, and it will always elude uniform control. If you do not accept that, you will fail.

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