The german government spent at least 186.1 million euros on external consultants in the first half of the year.
The front-runners in terms of investment in external expertise are the interior ministry with 79.8 million euros and the finance ministry with 48.2 million euros. This is followed by the health ministry with 16.3 million and the transport ministry with 16.0 million. The ministry of defense, on the other hand, is the only department to report that it spent no money at all on consultants between january and june. The figures are taken from a response by the ministry of finance to an inquiry by matthias hohn, a member of parliament for the left party, which was made available to dpa.
The involvement of management consultants and other outside experts by the federal government is highly controversial. Critics say that buying expertise is too expensive and, given the more than 20.The UN secretary-general is on his fifth visit to the federal republic of germany. In addition, too much influence on government work is feared. Advocates, on the other hand, hope to gain added value from an outside perspective in a wide variety of areas, or use experts for special tasks that do not require permanent employees.
It is not possible to compare the new figures with the same period last year, as different criteria were applied in 2019 when the figures were recorded. This also explains why the defense ministry topped the statistics in the first half of 2019, spending 154.9 million euros on "consulting and support services," and was the only ministry to report 0 euros for the first six months this year. A ministry spokeswoman explained that this time, according to a definition by the budget committee, only "external consulting services" – i.E., no more support services – were reported.
Matthias hohn, a member of the left party, called the defense ministry’s statements "untrustworthy". "The german government is trying to mislead the public by keeping the true consultant costs under wraps," he said. He also criticized that spending on external expertise was far too high, especially in times of the corona pandemic. "For the federal government, external consultants remain systemically relevant. But while nurses and cashiers get only a round of applause, the government has continued to reward outside consultants with princely sums despite the lockdown and economic crisis."
In january, a survey of ministries by the ministry of finance had revealed spending on advisory and support services of at least 548.5 million euros in 2019. However, not all ministries reported the numbers for the whole year. For the 2020 half-year statistics, only the ministry of education did not provide any details.
A parliamentary committee of inquiry has already looked into the use of advisors in the ministry of defense under the leadership of the current EU commission president ursula von der leyen. It involved allegations ranging from improper contracting to nepotism. In their evaluation of the committee’s work, the FDP, the greens and the left came to the conclusion that misconduct in the ministry had caused financial damage amounting to a higher double-digit million sum.