Balearic coffers are to be some 40 million pounds better off in accordance with the new autonomous finance system, but “there's no cause to start celebrating,” Balearic President Francesc Antich said yesterday. Antich and his Minister for Finance, Joan Mesquida, announced the budget increases yesterday, but Antich stressed that the 11 per cent rise in funding from Madrid “is better, but not enough to cover the large deficits the Balearics run up.” Antich paid tribute to Mesquida who, he said, has fought hard to defend the Balearics' corner in Madrid in the face of the ruling Partido Popular government. “Antich said Mesquida played by the rules “laid down by the PP government which make it clear that, up until a point, you either enter their system because outside it's very cold.” On top of the extra 11'000 million pesetas for the Balearics, comes the 17'000 million pesetas granted by Madrid to help the Balearics take over the management of the region's health service. In total, Mesquida said, the Balearics will now receive 214'000 million pesetas per year, 192'831 pesetas per inhabitant. “We have been left with a bitter sweet feeling because, while Madrid has agreed to an increase in funding, it falls short of the calculations carried out by us in the Balearics,” Mesquida said. The Minister said that it would appear that with the Balearics having the highest level of income per capita in Spain, it has hampered the increases in public funding. Mesquida called on central government to set to work at re-addressing the financial balance as the Balearics is being left with “rich citizens and a poor infrastructure.” Nevertheless, the Balearics has been granted one of the largest budget increases and Antich said that the extra money will enable his government to improve and expand public services. The President added that the Balearics continues to have “important deficits and the next battle is over the Special Financial System which will enable Balearic citizens to have the same rights and opportunities as those on the mainland.” The Balearic government was aiming for a 28.000 million peseta increase, more than double the figure secured.

Mesquida said that the Balearic population is well aware of the injustice in the allocations of budgets, that the region is one of the worst financed by central government in Spain and that Madrid has prevented the Balearics from accessing vital European Union funding.


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