Germany's pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) criticized Chancellor Angela Merkel's administration on Monday for the billion pieces of paper used by the federal government and its agencies in 2017. The opposition party issued a parliamentary query on government paper usage, using the results to lambast the backwardness of German bureaucracy still largely relying on paper in the digital age.
"Many countries already have nationwide fiber-optic infrastructure and paperless governments, while ours celebrates the implementation of electronic files," FDP politician Roman Müller-Böhm told the publishing group Funke Mediengruppe.
According to the government report, the federal government used 148 million sheets of paper in 2017. Altogether, the federal government and its agencies used more than 1.2 billion sheets of paper that year — somewhere in the region of 6,000 metric tons.
The FDP also slammed the continued use of fax machines by the government in 2019.
Germany's enduring love for paper documentation is often a source of amused criticism by both citizens and visitors. The country also famously lags behind in digital infrastructure, with many parts of the country cut off from high-speed internet and cellphone coverage.
es/msh (AFP, dpa)