BOTH regional and central government are to invest 96 million euros on the Islands' beach upkeep and maintenance between 2004 and 2007.
An agreement to this effect has been signed by both Administrations, but will require the setting up of a special Commission, with representation from both parties, to monitor the use of the funds. The Islands' Environment minister, Jaume Font, explained yesterday that he is to make a written request to his counterpart in central government, Cristina Narbona, that such a Commission be established as soon as possible, in order to set the agreement for coastal maintenance in motion. The agreement between both Administrations, which was signed on 12 March by a cabinet headed up by José María Aznar, commits both parties to contributing 12 million euros from the budget each year until 2007. The money will be allocated to different projects throughout the 29 municipalities of the Balearics. These plans, however, will have to be approved individually by the joint Commission. The agreements also include a programme for combatting erosion; the development of coastal infrastructure; research on coastal management; improvement of natural environment; and access to beaches for the handicapped. The most important aspect of the agreement explained Font, is the way that the Balearics has been put on an equal footing with the Canary Islands. The regional minister quipped that, thanks to the new disposition towards dialogue demonstrated by the new central government, he felt convinced that both parties will be able to agree on the actions required by the Balearic town councils.
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