Belgocontrol is an autonomous public company in charge of the safety of air traffic in Belgium. The company manages its own resources. Air traffic control is a service of general interest provided by a natural monopoly. Belgocontrol is a non-profit body, with the cost of the service being converted into the tariffs charged to airline companies.
The Belgian State has decided to ask Belgocontrol to pay back 31.8 million euros. This sum is part of the income from the sale of a building by Belgocontrol in 2007. The Belgian State plans to use this transfer to balance its budget.
Any increases in the costs of the service provided are passed on to Belgocontrol's clients, i.e. the airline companies. They are to be the victims of the Belgian State recovering this sum. Airline companies have already been hit hard by the current economic crisis, and there are figures that show that Belgocontrol is already one of Europe's most expensive air traffic control companies.
This measure by the Belgian State may infringe European legislation on the creation of a Single European Sky.
1. Does the Commission consider that this recovery of money by the Belgian State infringes European legislation? If so, which legislation?
2. Does the Commission intend to intervene? If so, how?
3. Is the Commission aware of precedents in other Member States? Does the Commission have comparable figures on the costs of air traffic control services in the EU Member States? If so, is the Commission prepared to make these figures available?