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Tuesday 18.02.2020 | Name days: Kintija, Kora
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Riga U-turns on new waste rules, waiting for competition probe outcome

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The Riga City Council has postponed the review of rules on the future regulation of waste management in the Latvian capital, while the Competition Council weighs, whether to introduce a ban on public waste contracts with AS Tīrīga.

The decision was made by the members of the Riga City Council on Wednesday, August 28, on the basis of the opinion of the Housing and Environment Department of the Council.

Its director Anatolijs Aļeksejenko explained that in a meeting with SIA Getliņi EKO and the Competition Council, it had become clear that the competition watchdog would decide until September 15, whether to ban Riga inhabitants from signing contracts with AS Tīrīga.

Kristīne Ermansone, the deputy director of the Housing and Environment Department, explained that in case the Competition Council does not implement the ban, Tīrīga would start its operation on the basis of the current waste management rules in the city.

Otherwise, there was no sense in adopting new rules, as it would not be possible to have them implemented by September 15.

The City Council would then start to look for a company to ensure waste management services in the city for an interim period.

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 off 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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