Hudghton (Greens/EFA) - Mr President, last week the Commission ruled against the level of assistance being given by the Charleroi airport authorities to a certain airline. Not only do I sympathise with the public authorities responsible for Charleroi, I admire them for trying to take action to stimulate much-needed economic growth and jobs, in the light of declining traditional industries. The benefits of low-cost air travel have been felt over a much wider area than just around Charleroi. For example, the route from Glasgow-Prestwick to Charleroi is the only air link from the west of Scotland, a very populous area, to the capital of Europe area. While I recognise that the Commission sees fit to implement state aid regulations in certain ways, what about the consumers? I hope that the Commission will not be over-enthusiastic and end up disadvantaging consumers, including many groups who wish - and need - to visit our headquarters and the other European institutions to learn more about how Europe actually works.

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