The Balearic government used the first parliamentary debate on its budget to defend the good state of the economy. Joan Mesquida, the finance minister, sent a message of optimism about the economy and criticised attacks from the central government in Madrid on its tourist policy. He said that all the economic indicators confirm that the situation in the Balearics is better than the rest of the country. An economy which has an unemployment rate of six per cent, as is the case in the Balearics, is not in crisis, he said in answer to attacks from the conservative Popular Party (PP), which had voted against the budget. The PP claimed that the Progress Pact was incapable of solving the Balearics' financial problems. PP deputy Mabel Cabrer pointed out that it was the government leaders who wanted fewer tourists, but was criticised by Mesquida for dedicating only two minutes to analysing the financial situation of the Balearics. Mesquida predicted that over the coming year, economic growth will be higher than this year and he compared tourist figures for the Balearics with those of the Canary Islands to prove that the attacks of Madrid were unjustified. But Cabrer insisted that government debt had increased spectacularly since 1999, and said Mesquida would go down in history as the minister of debt. Mesquida replied that the central government had also had to run into debt to cover its investments. She accused the government of spending too much on reports, offices, mobile phones and secretaries.