Expatica news

PM asked to pleadCharleroi case

27 November 2003

BRUSSELS – The Walloon Region has asked Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt to plead its case in a European Commission state aid probe involving budget airline Ryanair and Charleroi airport.

Ryanair, which set up a hub in Charleroi two year ago, is under investigation for accepting monies from the Walloon region in return for custom at the regional airport.

Walloon Prime Minister Jean-Claude van Cauwenberghe wrote a letter to Verhofstadt, asking him to make sure the European Commission came to a just and balanced decision on the question of whether state aid rules had been abused by the exchange.

Van Cauwenberghe denies providing any form of illegal state aid to Ryanair, and accuses Germany and France of putting pressure on the Commission in order to protect their own aeronautical interests.

Ryanair could still be forced to pull out of Charleroi.  The company’s chief executive, Michael O’Leary, has vowed to fight a negative ruling through the courts.

[Copyright Expatica News 2003]

Subject: Belgian news