President of Germany’s powerful Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control resigns

Torsten Safarik, the President of Germany’s Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (Bundesamts für Wirtschaft und Ausfuhrkontrolle, BAFA), is reportedly resigning to join an organization that manages the reclamation of East German lignite mining.

Safarik has been the head of BAFA since 2019 and was appointed by the then Federal Minister of Economics, Peter Altmaier (CDU). Before this role, Safarik worked for several years in the CSU faction of the German Parliament, the Bundestag.

BAFA is under the Federal Ministry of Economics led by Robert Habeck (Greens). Its more than 1,100 employees are responsible for export control, including the control of weapons of war. In the energy sector, they approve the renovation of houses and oversee auditors. Another key task is to implement and monitor compliance with Germany’s so-called Supply Chain Act (Lieferkettensorgfaltspflichtengesetz, LkSG), which was adopted to improve human rights and environmental protection in global supply chains.

In Berlin government circles, rumors circulated in recent days that Safarik had clashed with Economics Minister Habeck on this issue. Habeck had recently proposed suspending the law until a corresponding EU regulation, the so-called Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD), comes into force and can be harmonized with the German Supply Chain Act. Both the ministry and Safarik deny these rumors, stating that Safarik had applied for his new position months in advance, indicating his departure was planned well in advance.

The full story is only available in German: https://www.spiegel.de/wirtschaft/soziales/bafa-praesident-des-amts-fuer-ausfuhrkontrolle-torsten-safarik-tritt-zurueck-a-daa91b1c-23f2-409c-8c3c-362b70532d80