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Tuesday 12.11.2019 | Name days: Kaija, Kornēlija
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No obstacles to Riga signing waste contract on 20 years, says ministry, despite probe

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Latvian Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development has stated that the plan by the Riga City Council to award a waste management contract on 20 years is not against the law, despite competition regulator investigating alleged violations.

The representatives of the Latvian ministry has also denied it would interfere in the issue if the probe by the Latvia’s Competition Council will ban Riga residents from entering into waste management contracts with the private joint stock company Tīrīga.

The public sector partner of Tīrīga is the municipality-owned landfill management company Getliņi EKO.

Reportedly, Latvia’s Competition Council (CC) has initiated a case against Riga City Council and Getliņi EKO for possible breach of EU establishing treaty. A temporary measure is requested, which could mean the halting of the re-signing of the waste management contract.

Other possible violations are also being investigated.

CC head Skaidrīte Ābrama explained in a conversation to LTV programme Rīta Panorāma on Tuesday, 30 July, that Riga City Council has been sent a letter detailing uncovered facts. A response will be expected until 8 August. She said that a temporary measure would allow CC to study if the waste management contract could affect competition in Riga.

A full evaluation would require up to two years, says the head of CC.

Ābrama says there are concerns that the waste management model employed between Riga City Council and Getliņi EKO could potentially reduce competition in Riga’s waste management industry to nothing. She stressed that CC had warned about this two years ago, but the municipality did not take the warning seriously.

Ābrama reports that in the event of a breach of the EU establishment treaty, the law provides a fine equal to 5% of annual turnover.

«We understand that a building can be built economically and make it good and usable. It is also possible to build a golden palace, and then years would pass and no one would have a clue how to maintain said golden palace or why it was needed in the first place. This is such a case,» the head of CC describes the waste management contract, predicting that in 20 years from now no one will know why it was even allowed in the first place.

CC head is also concerned the contract and tariff changes in Riga are not based on quality studies.

Ābrama describes Riga City Council’s attitude towards competition as «nihilistic», adding that the municipality was warned about distortion of competition multiple times in the past.

As for how CC’s initiated case could affect residents, Ābrama said the council can only affect operations of municipalities and Getliņi EKO. She expects the municipality and the company to put on hold the contract until a decision has been made.


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