Balearic leader Francesc Antich yesterday called on the financial sector to back his demands for the central government to develop the Special Regime for funding the region. He invited business leaders to the Consolat de la Mar, government headquarters in the Paseo Sagrera, and asked them to make a “common front, to show that Balearics is a strong country.” Full development of the Special Regime, known as the REB, could mean an additional 216'000 million pesetas for the Balearics, as compensation for its condition as an island region. The meeting was attended by most of the 60 institutions, associations and financial groups which had been taking part in a series of meetings to analyse the development of the REB. Antich told them that in order to advance, countries needed the collaboration of institutions and society. He described the REB as “a legislative instrument which defines our particular needs,” and therefore, island society as a whole should press for it. Antich also said that when Spain takes over presidency of the European Union in January, he will call on Premier José Maria Aznar to discuss the situation of islands in the European community. Joan Mesquida, the finance minister, spoke in similar terms and said that it was difficult to make Madrid and Brussels understand that having the highest per capita income did not mean having the best infrastructures. However, he admitted that a “change“ had been noted in the central government which now seemed more willing to develop the REB.

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