Germany Politics

Germany Politics and Administration


In contrast to most state constitutions, the Basic Law contains few special provisions on the economic and social order. The Basic Law does not decide in favor of a specific economic constitution, but it excludes certain economic systems. However, there is an obligation to the welfare state, the economic freedom of contract and competition, the economic freedom of association, the freedom of private economic activity and the right to private property; the law can shape or restrict these freedoms. Expropriations are only for the common good, on a legal basis and against compensation permissible. Social ties to property (e.g. in the form of housing rental legislation), on the other hand, are permissible without compensation. Land, natural resources and means of production can be transferred to common property or other forms of public economy for compensation (socialization).

The highest constitutional organs are the German Bundestag, the Bundesrat as the representation of the states, the Federal Government, the Federal President and the Federal Constitutional Court. Administrative organs of the federal government are the federal ministries, the highest federal authorities (e.g. Federal Audit Office), federal higher, central and subordinate authorities (federal administration) as well as the federal institutions and corporations under public law. In addition to the Federal Constitutional Court, the federal judicial bodies are the highest federal courts (Federal Court of Justice, Federal Administrative Court, Federal Finance Court, Federal Labor Court, Federal Social Court). The Federal Patent Court also exists as a federal court.

Federal laws can only be enacted if the federal government has exclusive or concurrent legislative competence   is entitled or the federal government is authorized to issue framework regulations; otherwise the legislative competence remains with the states (Article 70 GG). The subjects of the legislative powers of the federal government are expressly listed in the Basic Law. In the area of ​​the subjects of exclusive legislation listed in Article 73 of the Basic Law, only the Federation is authorized to enact laws, in particular: foreign affairs, defense, nationality, currency, postal services and telecommunications. Subjects of competing legislation (Article 74 GG) can be regulated by state law as long as and to the extent that the federal government has not made use of its legislative competence by law. However, the federal legislative right is tied to the condition that that the establishment of equivalent living conditions in the federal territory or the preservation of the legal or economic unity in the national interest requires a federal regulation (Article 72 GG). However, this did not prevent the federal government from securing more and more legislative powers over time. The federal states are generally responsible for implementing federal laws.

To amend and supplement the Basic Law, a unanimous resolution by the Bundestag and Bundesrat is required, which must be passed by each of the two organs with two thirds of the statutory number of votes. The division of the federal government into states, the basic right of the states to participate in federal legislation and the inviolability of human dignity as well as the principles of the democratic and social constitutional state cannot be eliminated even by means of a constitutional amendment (Article 79 of the Basic Law). Even after the establishment of German unity, Article 146 of the Basic Law in the 1990 version stipulates that the Basic Law as a whole becomes invalid if a constitution comes into force that has been freely decided by the entire German people.


According to shoppingpicks, Germany consists of 16 federal states. The federal and state governments have separate administrations (federal administration, federal supervision). In some areas, the federal government has administrations with its own administrative substructure (e.g. foreign service), but mostly only through the highest administrative authorities (ministries) and higher federal authorities. In addition, there are federal corporations and agencies, for example in the field of social insurance (e.g. German Federal Pension Insurance, Federal Employment Agency).

German federal states

Size and population (12/31/2019)
Surname Area(in km 2) Population(in 1,000) Residentsper km 2 capital city
Baden-Wuerttemberg 35 748 11 100 311 Stuttgart
Bavaria 70 542 13 125 186 Munich
Berlin 891 3 669 4090
Brandenburg 29 654 2 522 85 Potsdam
Bremen 419 681 1 624
Hamburg 755 1 847 2,446
Hesse 21 116 6 288 298 Wiesbaden
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania 23 295 1 608 69 Schwerin
Lower Saxony 47 710 7 994 168 Hanover
North Rhine-Westphalia 34 112 17 947 526 Dusseldorf
Rhineland-Palatinate 19 858 4 094 206 Mainz
Saarland 2 571 987 384 Saarbrücken
Saxony 18 450 4,071 221 Dresden
Saxony-Anhalt 20 457 2 195 107 Magdeburg
Schleswig-Holstein 15 801 2 904 184 Kiel
Thuringia 16 202 2 133 132 Erfurt

The main administrative activity lies with the federal states. They not only manage those tasks which, such as the police and schools, mainly fall under their legislative competence. As a rule, they are also responsible for implementing federal laws as a separate matter (Article 83 of the Basic Law). However, the federal government is granted certain powers (regulating the establishment of the authorities and the administrative procedure, issuing general administrative regulations, legal supervision). If the federal states implement federal laws on behalf of the federal government in the cases named in the Basic Law (federal contract administration), the federal government is entitled to further rights (authority to issue instructions, appropriateness control) (Article 85 of the Basic Law).

Germany Politics