12 May 2005
BRUSSELS – The Walloon government has started suing Ryanair for around EUR 2.3 million in the Irish courts, it emerged on Thursday.
The francophone Belgian daily ‘La Libre Belgique’ reported that Transport Minister Andre Antoine had introduced a legal complaint in Dublin on 20 April.
It wants the return of EUR 2.3 million – a part of the EUR 15 million which it gave to the Irish budget airline to woo it to Charleroi.
The subsidy was judged by the European Commission in February 2004 to be “illegal” state aid, giving Ryanair an unfair advantage over other airlines.
Wallonia was ordered by the Commission to take steps to seek the return of the money.
Though the French-speaking regional government has held negotiations with Ryanair, so far the airline has refused to pay a cent of the millions back.
It put EUR 4 million into a blocked bank account, but has said it won’t pay up until the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg rules on its appeal against the Commission decision.
[Copyright Expatica 2005]
Subject: Belgian news