Dhe Frankfurt economist Volker Wieland surprisingly announced on Saturday his resignation from the Council of Experts for the Assessment of Overall Economic Development. In an interview with the FAZ, Wieland explained that he had decided to resign from his post “with effect from the end of April”.

Johannes Pennekamp

Responsible editor for economic reporting, responsible for “The Lounge”.

The Council of “Wise Men in Economics”, which was founded almost sixty years ago to assess the economic policy of the Federal Government and to advise politicians independently, will therefore only have three members from May onwards. This exceptional situation occurs after the resignation because neither the old nor the new federal government has named a successor for Lars Feld, who left more than a year ago. Five members are required by law, three members are the minimum number for the Council to have a quorum and thus be able to act.

The 56-year-old Wieland, who has been a member of the council since 2013 and whose second term of office would have expired in just under a year, justified his resignation with the high workload in the council. This can no longer be reconciled with his main activity at the University of Frankfurt. Personally, the last two pandemic years with children of kindergarten and primary school age and relatives in need of care have been a particular burden. However, the expert in monetary policy makes no secret of the fact that the decimated Council “did not have the best conditions for further work”.

Actually, there are five ways of doing business

The background is a stalemate in which Wieland and Veronika Grimm face each other on the more politically oriented side and Monika Schnitzer and Achim Truger on the more left-hand side. In the absence of a clear majority, the Council was unable to agree on a chairman and always had to formulate compromises in terms of content. In questions of fiscal policy and debt rules, for example, there was no clear recommendation, but “only two different positions towards politics could be shown,” said Wieland. The Confederation of German Employers’ Associations (BDA), at the suggestion of which Wieland was called, praised the merits of the researcher, who until the end “served for a unified positioning of the Council”, his resignation was “regrettable”. It was also said by circles in the Federal Ministry of Finance that Wieland’s voice would be “missing in the Advisory Council, especially in times of high inflation”.

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