King Juan Carlos and Francesc Antich.

20-08-2013
King Juan Carlos of Spain yesterday told Balearic President, Francesc Antich, that he is prepared to help the islands secure more investment from central government. His majesty received Antich for talks at Marivent Palace and, according to the Balearic President, King Juan Carlos was keen to hear and learn about the problems currently facing the Balearics. Antich said they discussed the region's power problem and the need for the construction of the gas pipe to the mainland. The King also expressed a great deal of interest in the problems which have hit the Balearic tourist industry this year and also the environment. Antich said that the King was surprised at yesterday's reports of how many cars there are in the Balearics, 950 per 1'000 inhabitants and the President explained that in order to resolve the problem, “we have got to go back to basics and design a new public transport model.” One of the key ingredients of the Balearic government's public transport revolution is the expansion of the railways, but Antich impressed upon the King the need for greater investment in order for the vast plans the government has for the trains to become a reality. The President said that both he and the King agreed that the region's roads need to be improved, but because of limited natural space, no more motorways or dual carriage ways “which will destroy the countryside” should be built. During the 45 minute meeting, the first official round of talks the two men have held this summer, the King also wanted to know how the anti-forest fire campaign was working this summer and how much damage has been caused so far. According to Antich the King said “if we need any kind of help, he is more than prepared to lend a hand.” However, as Antich emerged from the fireside chat, he was faced with more pressing questions about the present condition, and the future, of the Balearic left-wing pact in the wake of the Majorcan Unionist party, led by Maria Antonia Munar, suggesting in Manacor that it is prepared to break away from the coalition. Antich denied that the pact is in chaos, although he did admit that relations between the Majorcan Unionist party and the rest of the pact are strained. It was Munar's party and its three parliamentary seats which swung the balance of power at the last election, thus giving the left-wing coalition power.

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