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  • Dear Readers!

    There is good cause for celebration! 30 years of a unified Germany. Or perhaps we should say: ‘30 years of working on a unified Germany’? Seen from a historical perspective, it is certainly true to say that the reunification process has not yet been completed. In fact, looking at Germany’s history, you might well be excused for thinking that this process will never be completed. Each individual region has its own cultural peculiarities, its own dialect, its own sensibilities, its own breed of people. And, of course, their traditional dishes are worlds apart from each other. But that’s the way it should be as it is the differences that create a strong dynamic for change and enrich our culture and economy. Having said all that, we are still quite a young nation. Germany really hasn’t been around that long. Our country – as a federation of states – did not come into being until almost 100 years after the United States of America was founded. And we are all well aware that they are still working hard on unifying their nation.

    We are very grateful that our family-run business has been able to play a constructive role in shaping the reunification process from the start. While criticism continues to be directed towards the Treuhand (the agency responsible for privatising the former East German enterprises) for the way it acted – its focus was often on processing rather than developing – our aim has always been on finding robust, future-oriented solutions by working closely on the ground with the different city and regional authorities. The results speak for themselves – whether it be in the Lausitz region where our public private joint venture WAL Betrieb provides water management services and has kept fees and charges stable and jobs secure for decades now despite the region’s declining population; or in Schwerin, where the public private partnership between the city and REMONDIS has been hugely successful at delivering key services cost effectively. And these are just two examples of many. It was – and continues to be – the amazing personal dedication of the company’s employees in the regions that made it possible for REMONDIS to become a local east German family-run business in these new areas after the wall fell. What’s more, some of the family moved from the Westphalian town of Selm to make their home in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern – but this just as a side note. Unity requires active commitment, as does sustainable development. REMONDIS is dedicated to both, always working with the future in mind.

    One thing is certain: there are a lot of things still – or once again – to be done. The recession brought on by Covid-19 is having a dramatic impact on the finances of local authorities. According to the Federal Statistical Office, the cities and districts faced a shortfall of 9.7 billion euros in the first six months of this year. As a comparison: the deficit amounted to just 0.3 billion euros a year ago. The reason for this negative trend was the drastic fall in revenue received by local governments in the second quarter of 2020. The German economy nosedived by 9.7% between April and June – the first time it has ever had to face such a huge drop. Yet another reason then for thinking about how the pressure can be taken off local governments in the future. They don’t have to do everything by themselves – the private sector is happy to help. Public private partnerships are a robust solution for delivering cost-intensive essential services, such as waste management and water management tasks. I and Professor Michael Schäfer, retired professor of public sector economics at the Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development, illustrate this very clearly with the help of many examples in one of the books we co-authored – and we don’t forget to mention the negative examples either. As everyone knows, people learn from their mistakes so they can do a better job in the future. And this is precisely what we are doing together with our friends and partners in the not so new states in the east of Germany, in Europe and across the world.

    We hope you enjoy reading this latest issue. Stay safe!


    Ludger Rethmann

Collaborating since 1998

  • REMONDIS shall continue to provide waste management and recycling services to the City of Frankfurt am Main for the next 20 years as well. In close consultation with the EU Commission, the city authorities put 49% of the shares in Frankfurter Entsorgungs- und Service GmbH (FES), a public private joint venture, out for tender in an EU-wide procurement process. The partnership, which has been a success since 1998, has, therefore, been extended until 2040.

An extended portfolio of services

  • Besides giving the City of Frankfurt permission to put the shares out to tender, the EU also allowed them to renegotiate the framework agreement and three service agreements (covering waste collection/management, city cleaning and winter services and organic waste recycling activities) with FES at the same time as well as to harmonise their content and timeframes.

    Mayor Peter Feldmann (right), Mayor and Councillor Uwe Becker (left) and Rosemarie Heilig, head of the council’s environmental department (centre)

Investing in digitisation

‘One-stop cleaning services’ were also added to the agreements. From 2021 onwards, defined services that had been agreed on by contract between the city authorities and FES in the past (such as managing public toilets, cleaning bus/trams stops located above ground and maintaining green areas next to roads) can now be assigned straight to FES by the council’s different departments without having to put them out to tender beforehand. The “FES 2040” consortium agreement also stipulates that investments should be made in digitisation so that the exact amounts of waste can be recorded as well as in further improving environmental standards in the area of waste collection, treatment and recycling. Moreover, FES’ fleet should continue to shift towards low-emission and low-noise vehicles and machinery, a pilot plant for using hydrogen technology should be set up and the heat generated by the organic waste composting activities should be fed into the city’s district heat network. Completely in line with our motto, therefore: ‘working for the future’.

  • “Awarding FES with the contract for a 20-year partnership is a real asset to the City of Frankfurt, to all our local resi- dents as well as to FES itself. By concluding these waste management and city cleaning agreements, the delivery of these key services is now guaranteed and high quality standards have been set out in writing, all of which will help ensure fees and charges remain stable.“

    Lord Mayor Peter Feldmann

Praise from the media

The FAZ newspaper obviously agrees with this as well. Mechthild Harting, editor at the paper’s Rhine-Main editorial office, commented on the signing of the contract, saying: “It’s not possible to improve the market or the cost effectiveness here. Thanks to this agreement, the success story of this public private partnership that began back in 1998 can continue to be written.”

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