Transparency & donations: A comparative series – Germany

For our final table of the series, this summary of rules in Germany is concerned specifically with recent changes to lobbying regulations. These include obligations to provide additional information to entries on the Lobby Register, the process to follow when supplementing existing entries, and more onerous requirements to update entries in good time following certain changes.

Businesses interested in seeking to undertake lobbying activities in Germany should ensure they are fully aware of the comprehensive transparency requirements associated with doing so. Those who are already registered as lobbyists must also take care to comply with these new regulations by the deadline on 30th June, in order to avoid removal from the current register altogether. Businesses are still capable of helping to shape the regulatory landscape, but they may need additional support to ensure that they continue to do so compliantly. 




Who is covered?

Are the rules different during an election period?

Process for updating the Lobby Register 

  • Additional information must be added to existing register entries by 30 June 2024. Register entries which have not been updated by this deadline will be automatically transferred to the list of former interest representatives.
  • To facilitate this, a confirmation document must be signed by one person designated by the registered organisation. If this is a legal entity or partnership, it must be a manager. 
  • Data from the existing register entry is largely adopted and only needs to be supplemented and confirmed.
  • Any additional data required will be explained and queried step by step in the application.
  • It is possible to use data from the financial year before last. This must then be updated in the register entry no later than one year after the end of the last financial year to avoid transfer to the list of former interest representatives.

Entities registered on the Lobby Register

No – relates specifically to period until 30 June 2024.

General disclosures to update the Lobby Register

Lobby Register entries must be updated with:

  • The address and electronic contact details (e-mail address and telephone number) of a branch office in Berlin;
  • An indication of whether each person authorised to represent the registered entity directly engages in lobbying themselves, e.g. by way of meeting MPs etc;
  • The names of those who are not employees but are entrusted with the representation of interests and directly represent the interests of the organisation;
  • The names of voluntary members of an association, members of an extended board of directors or supervisory board, and co-opted board members;
  • Information for all natural persons listed in the register entry as to whether they currently hold or have held a mandate, office or function in the Bundestag, federal government or federal administration in the last five years and, if applicable, the date on which this activity ended;
  • If applicable: A breakdown of the number of members by natural persons and legal entities, partnerships or other organisations (applies to associations which themselves have associations as members);
  • A more precise general description of the activities of the interest representation organisation;
  • A specific designation of the regulatory projects to which the representation of interests relates, stating the title, the areas of interest and projects concerned and, if applicable, the applicable laws to which the representation of interests relates; and
  • General submissions and expert opinions (if not already published within other formalised procedures), but not individual letters or documents containing business secrets

As above

As above

Disclosures relating to the financial year to update the Lobby Register

Lobby Register entries must be updated with the following information in relation to each financial year:

  • The start and end of the current, last and penultimate financial year;
  • The number of employees in the area of interest representation (to be provided in full-time equivalents);
  • The main sources of financing in descending order of their share of total revenue;
  • The annual financial expenses in areas of interest representation in increments of EUR 10,000;
  • The grants and subsidies exceeding EUR 10,000 from the German public sector, EU, its Member States or third countries that relate to the primary corporate and organisational purpose of a company or organisation;
  • The total amount of donations and other lifetime gifts from third parties in increments of EUR 10,000 and, if applicable, details of individual donors;
  • The total membership fees in the financial year in increments of EUR 10,000 and, if applicable, details of individual contributors; and
  • The annual financial statements or annual reports of legal entities, partnerships and sole traders.

As above

As above

Extensive information on contractual relationships to update the Lobby Register

Where the interests of a third party are being represented, Lobby Register entries must be updated with the following information:

  • A precise description of the commissioned activity;
  • The identity of clients for whom the representation of interests is carried out (even if they are not subject to registration themselves);
  • An indication of the financial resources received from the client per contract in increments of EUR 50,000; and
  • Details of the persons or organisations appointed to represent the interests in question.

Registered entities representing interests of third parties

As above

Updating obligations for financial information on the Lobby Register

  • An annual "financial year update" and confirmation of the overall entry are required no later than six months after the end of the last financial year.
  • If the update is not completed within 30 days of the deadline, this will be noted on the register and a notification will be sent. If not carried out by the end of another 150 days, the entry will be transferred to the list of former interest representatives.

Entities registered on the Lobby Register


Immediate updates to the Lobby Register

Changes to the information on the following must be updated immediately, i.e. without undue delay:

  • The master data of a registered legal entity, partnership or other organisation;
  • The identity of those authorised to represent a registered company;
  • Persons who are entrusted with the representation of interests on not only an occasional basis, and who exercise the representation of interests directly;
  • Areas of interest and projects;
  • The description of general activities in the area of interest representation;
  • The intended exertion of influence by stating the specific regulatory projects with regard to which the interests are represented; and
  • Any existing mandates to represent the interests of third parties.

As above

As above


There are also transparency rules for donations to political parties. Parties need to notify the President of the German Parliament immediately if the donation exceeds EUR 35,000.  Donations between EUR 10,000 and 50,000 will be published only periodically and donations below a threshold of EUR 10,000 are not published at all. There are several rules for donations which political parties must adhere to. In particular, they must not accept donations that are clearly made to the party in anticipation of or in return for a specific economic or political advantage.







Authored by Robert Gardener, Falk Schoening, Charles Brasted, Lourdes Catrain, Thomas Duenchheim, Jeffrey Greenbaum, Valerio Natale, Lucas Osorio, Andrew Eaton, and Lavan Thasarathajumar.

Robert Gardener
Director of Government Affairs
Charles Brasted
Lourdes Catrain
Thomas Duenchheim
Jeffrey Greenbaum
Valerio Natale
Senior Associate
Lucas Osorio
Office Managing Partner
Falk Schoening
Lavan Thasarathakumar
Senior Advisor
Andrew Eaton


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