A proportion of subsidies, granted by the Brussels region to the agency Brussels Waste Management, have taken the form of illegal state grants. L’Echo reports the point on Tuesday, based upon a judgment passed by the Brussels Court of First Instance. The Brussels region must now suspend 20% of its payments to the agency, being a shortfall of €30 million for the Brussels waste management organization.
The daily publication states that the case was brought jointly by the sector federation of private companies operating in the collection, sorting and recycling of waste sector (“G04CIRCLE”) and five private companies.
In the collection of household waste, Brussels Waste Management enjoys a monopoly and has regional public subsidies. On the contrary, this is not the case for the collection of commercial waste, a sphere in which it competes with the private sector. The complainants, therefore, believe that Brussels Waste Management is using a proportion of the subsidies received to offer the commercial waste management sector prices that are below the market price.
Believing themselves to be victims of distortion of competition, they claimed that the agency is incapable of reporting separate accounting for both activities. Added to this, the agency refused make its accounts available as part of the proceedings. The judges have therefore found that it enjoys an economic advantage compared to its private competitors.
In 2015, non-household collection is thought to have enabled Brussels Waste Management to obtain more than 17,000 contracts, being a turnover of a little over €17 million.
The Brussels Times