While the European Union Summit in Nice was yesterday being hailed as a success by the Spanish government, the Balearics were not so upbeat. While Spain has lost none of its powers and now it is one of the big four countries, opposition parties have criticised Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar for having entered the summit with blinkered concerns for Spain's global welfare and for having ignored the wishes and concerns of the country's isolated regions, such as the Balearics. The size of Spain's European Union financial subsidies remains untouched, but the Balearics also received direct funding from Brussels and prior to the summit, the Balearic government was lobbying, along with the Union's other isolated autonomous regions, for greater legislative powers in the Union and more financial aid. But, plans to enlarge the European Union could see Balearic aid reduced. The United Left party claimed that Aznar has allowed Spain to be relegated into the “second division” and that Spain “gave but received nothing in return.” The enlargement of the European Union could see money once set aside for isolated regions, such as the Balearics, redirected to the new economically struggling member countries. The Canaries have been signalled out for special financial assistance because of the islands' geographical distance from the Union and the extra costs incurred, but the Balearics, with one of the fastest rates of economic growth in the Union over the past five years, appears to have been ignored for the moment.


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