EU Investigating Belgian Aid to Airports in Wallonia Region

The European Union’s competition watchdog is investigating whether aid from Belgium’s Wallonia region to airports in the area, including Charleroi, were unlawful.

The European Commission sent an information request to the Belgian authorities on July 31, spokesman Jonathan Todd said today in an e-mail. The inquiry is being done on the commission’s initiative and there isn’t a formal investigation “at this stage,” he said.

The commission can order companies to pay back government funding if it can’t be justified for providing a public service.

The EU is probing government subsidies for several regional airports across Europe that may have unfairly benefited Ryanair Holdings Plc (RYA) and other low-cost rivals. The commission is planning to release new rules next year to make it more difficult for governments to prop up unprofitable airports.

Belgian daily newspaper L’Echo reported the news earlier today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gaspard Sebag in Brussels at gsebag@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lindsay Fortado at lfortado@bloomberg.net

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