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    Brussels garbage collection operating under deficit

    © Belga

    The Bruxelles Propreté agency needs to clean up where necessary, the leader of the DéFI political party, Olivier Maingain, said on Monday in a reference to issues with the management of the company, which is in charge of garbage collection in Brussels.

    Taking stock of the negotiations on the agency, Le Soir referred to figures quoted by L’Echo in early May, based on a document submitted to trade unions by the management of Bruxelles Propreté.

    The agency needs 51 million euros to balance its budget by the end of 2019. Of this amount, 8.5 million euros represents this year’s deficit, staff provisions account for 9 million euros and the remaining 34 million is the withholding on the regional allocation, imposed by the lower court last year following a private-sector suit against the agency’s commercial activities: 18,000 contracts for the collection of garbage from businesses and other companies. These activities have been described as unfair competition due to a lack of strict budgetary management of the public allocation for garbage collection.

    According to Le Soir, there is a shortfall of nine million euros for 2019, due to a huge increase in recruitments (staff has increased by 20% in five years) through the reorganisation of selective collections, for whose impact the agency’s management and Secretary of State Laanan blame each other. Asked about the issue, Mrs. Laanan declined to make any comment on Monday. However, some of her close associates denied that the Socialist Party (PS) had any control over the recruitments, which were done to help the Brussels Region attain the European target of 50% of waste recycled by 2020.

    The recycling rate reached the 43% mark in 2017, not 41% as was previously stated, thanks mainly to a significant increase in the tonnage of paper waste collected, which went up by 16% for yellow bags, and packaging waste, and by +25% for blue bags.  

    On arriving at the first meeting in the six-party negotiations aimed at putting together a new government for the Region of Brussels, most of the negotiators maintained a careful silence, including the Greens, who had been on top of the issue in the outgoing legislature.

    However, DéFI president, Olivier Maingain, was very clear.  “Bruxelles-propreté’s mission is to sweep. It needs to sweep where necessary,” he said, adding that “the effort to put the Brussels institutions begun by the outgoing Government, needs to be pursued.” 

    “The situation requires a true reflection on tomorrow’s missions,” commented Rudi Vervoort for his part. There are in fact issues for the incoming legislators to discuss. The Government will doubtless do that.

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times