13 October 2004
BRUSSELS – The Walloon Airports Minister has given budget carrier Ryanair an extra two weeks to pay back EUR 3.9 million of illegal state aid, a deadline he insists is final.
Ryanair should have paid back the money by 14 October at the latest, but minister Andre Antoine now says he will wait until 29 October.
Antoine said he had granted the minor reprieve with the blessing of the European Commission but that the EU executive had warned that this was the ultimate deadline.
Ryanair originally received the contested cash from the Walloon authorities in exchange for a pledge to develop its activities at Wallonia’s Charleroi airport.
But in February this year the Commission said the payment amounted to illegal state aid and told Ryanair to give the money back.
Ryanair has said on numerous occassions that it does not intend to comply with the Commission’s ruling, which it is currently challenging at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news