Balearic Chief Minister Francesc Antich received some welcome support for an idea yesterday with his Valencian counterpart, Eduardo Zaplana, prepared to back the Balearic government's ambitious plan to build a gas pipeline from Valencia to Palma via Ibiza. Antich met Zaplana for talks in Valencia yesterday morning and emerging from the meeting the Chief Minister of the Valencia Government said that he is prepared to help the Balearics put the fuel plan into motion. “The Balearic government has been given clear indications that it will receive all the help it needs from us,” Zaplana said. Antich said yesterday that the gas pipeline is vital for the Balearics after the “alarming” increase in demand for power this year and the serious electricity supply problems which surfaced earlier this summer. But Antich said that in order to push ahead with the Balearic Energy Plan “we need Valencia.” Engineers from both governments are expected to meet shortly to start discussing the project and Antich said that the Balearic government is trying to ensure that the gas line is included in the state gas network and that he wants to receive maximum approval for the project from all sectors involved “as soon as possible.” With relations between Palma and Madrid frosty at the best of times, Antich is going to have to approach central government to ask help in funding the project and suggested yesterday that in order to convince Madrid he may call on his Valencian colleague to help increase pressure on central government.

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