PUBLIC SURVEY ON REGULATORY SANDBOX ACT LAUNCHE
The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) has initiated a public consultation process to develop an act on regulatory sandboxes. The survey aims to define uniform and innovation-friendly framework conditions for environments in which to test new ideas.
New applications and technologies need space – both in the literal and figurative sense. This is mainly due to the fact that they can only unfold their potential for a robust transformation of society and business and put them on the path to a sustainable life when they can be experienced, and thus accepted, in the real world. Especially in the context of overall urban development, testing environments like these are essential, yet again and again, they are met with regulatory restrictions. The development of novel combinations is associated with risks and feelings of uncertainty, which is why it is all the more important that the entire range of users, innovation drivers and administrative staff be involved in the transformation process from its very early stages.
Germany has already made some attempts to use regulatory sandboxes as testing environments for innovation and regulation, for example to test autonomous driving systems, innovative public transport models and digital identification procedures. The Regulatory Sandbox Network (“Netzwerk Reallabore”, German only) keeps the public informed through events and workshops on the topic. And with the Regulatory Sandbox Innovation Award (“Innovationspreises Reallabore”, German only), the BMWK has been highlighting practical examples of regulatory sandboxes since 2002. So far, however, one thing has been lacking: the legal framework to put the introduction and implementation of this political instrument on “solid footing”.
In its 2021 coalition treaty, federal government therefore agreed to pass an act on regulatory sandboxes. Much groundwork has already been laid, including the compilation of a regulatory sandbox strategy; since May 2023, the Regulatory Sandbox Task Force (“Bund-Länder-Arbeitskreis Reallabore”), made up of members of the government and the states, has been working on advancing the project within ministries and across departments. The EU Commission has also provided for regulations on regulatory sandboxes in numerous legislative proposals, for example on the testing of artificial intelligence and blockchain solutions, on zero-emission technologies and e-government solutions across state borders.
The government is now taking the next step: by launching a public consultation process on the act and other measures. States and municipalities, research facilities, enterprises, associations and authorities as well as interested residents can contribute their assessment and ideas over the course of this digital participation process.
The Regulatory Sandbox Green Paper (“Grünbuch Reallabore”) has summarised the progress status – in accordance with the regulatory sandbox concept developed in 2021 – and underpinned it with concrete measures. One aim of the public consultation process is to answer and evaluate questions around implementation raised within the green paper. The public’s suggestions and comments will then be integrated into the development of the draft legislation.
The four focal points of the green paper:
- Anchoring overarching standards for regulatory sandboxes and experimentation clauses
- New legal options to test innovations in regulatory sandboxes in key innovation areas
- Anchoring a binding experimentation clause check in legislation
- Creating a one-stop-shop as a central point of contact in practice
Until 29 September, interested parties can contribute their ideas and suggestions to the public consultation process.
Click here to take part (German only)