Brussels South Charleroi Airport must reimburse €6 million of illegal state aid to Wallonia

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Illegal state aid – BSCA’s appeal against the European Commission’s decision rejected

This Thursday (25 Jan 2018), the European Union Court dismissed the appeal lodged by Brussels South Charleroi Airport (BSCA) against a decision by the European Commission. The latter has been asking since 2014 that the airport reimburses some six million euros to Belgium (in this case Wallonia, but the EU only recognises member states), the equivalent of illegally collected state aid.

Following an investigation initiated in 2002, the Commission had established that several advantages granted by Belgium (i.e. Wallonia) to Brussels South Charleroi Airport, in the form of a concession fee too low compared to what would have required by a private operator, constituted illegal state aid according to EU rules. This incompatibility with the internal market has existed since the new aviation guidelines entered into force on 4 April 2014.

The Commission, therefore, asked Belgium (i.e. Wallonia) to raise the amount of the concession – to almost EUR 15 million, against three million previously – and to recover the amounts of payments made under these aid measures since 4 April 2014.

BSCA lodged an appeal against this decision before the General Court of the European Union.

The CEO of Brussels Airport was satisfied with the decision:

Source: Twitter and own research

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