A Brussels resident brought proceedings in front of the Council of State following the “implicit refusal” by Minister of Mobility Jacqueline Galant to show her a copy of the sales agreement for Zaventem airport, reports the daily L’Echo on Thursday. Nathalie Desmaele had already appealed to the Federal Appeals Commission for Access to Environmental Data, but it had not managed to gain access to the documents. On Thursday the minister’s spokeswoman confirmed that “they have just been sent to her.”
In January 2015 Nathalie Desmaele previously wrote to the Minister of Mobility, requesting a copy of the agreement and any document relating to the sale of Zaventem airport.
The woman is a member of local residents’ organisation Collectief Canal. She worries that the 2004 sale of the airport to Australian group Macquarie came with operating conditions regarding the number of approved flights and schedules. Several MPs and associations had already asked for a copy of the sales contract, to no avail.
In view of the minister’s silence, Mrs. Desmaele brought the case to the Federal Appeals Commission for Access to Environmental Data at the end of March. The Minister of Mobility then said she did not have the documents in question and that they were confidential.
This is not acceptable, according to the Commission, which “can only deplore the minister’s decision to refuse it access to the requested documents,” it adds in its July 6th ruling.
Mrs. Galant’s office has just forwarded a copy of the deeds of sale, says the minister’s spokesperson on Thursday. “The contract was signed over 10 years ago and it unfortunately took us a while to locate it,” explained Axelle Pollet “The Commission must now decide fairly whether some of the documents can be made public.”
Nathalie Desmaele is pursuing her appeals case at the Council of State until the Commission can confirm it received all the documents requested, including amendments, she explained to Belga press agency.