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Provocation and scare tactics

Vienna, 01.04.2014

It seems to be a classic approach: if you can’t make headway with factual argumentation, then you frighten people with the help of the media and a good dose of provocation. This is what has happened in the Vorarlberger Nachrichten newspaper. “Cheating in the race for waste” appeared as a headline in the paper last week. The article reveals that the experiment with market liberalisation in Germany has proven a total failure.

Interesting! Some people might ask what that has to do with Austria. Well, you can just about understand that an existing monopolist is going to warn us off liberalisation. After all, they are about to lose their cushy, exclusive control of the sector. Soon it will no longer be possible for them to set prices as they see fit and they are suddenly being challenged by the competition. How annoying for them!

However, it is truly objectionable that the article unfortunately misses out a few quite important points: who is doing the cheating and exactly what has gone wrong in Germany. As far as the first point is concerned, we can assume that the irreproachable monopolist, who has collected excess licensing fees in the amount of about 100 million euros in recent years and is battling EU competition proceedings, must mean the emergent competition. The second point, however, is truly unfounded. It is a fact that costs for the general public in Germany have decreased by more than 50 per cent since the monopoly came to an end, without detriment to the collections or the readiness of consumers to collect their waste separately.

We need to remember two things for the future: 1. Neither the general public nor the customers of collection and recycling systems are particularly interested in the disputes, allegations and intentionally incorrect representations of the situation in other countries. 2. In the long term, you only harm yourself if you make statements like that. What a shame…

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