News desk
THE keynotes of the debate on the State of the Balearics in Parliament this week are the following:
Tourism l Balearic leader Jaume Matas said that there is a “slight recovery” and he stressed the need to adapt to a new type of demand. He defended talks with management and workers as the key to the change, but admitted to discrepancies about the reconversion of obsolete hotels into apartments. He announced a strategic plan for promotion and a Congress hall.

Transport l He said that the transport plan was a pioneer in connecting all forms of public transport on a single ticket. He announced the Palma transport depot as an immediate project. Regarding the 50 percent discount on air and sea fares between islands and the Peninsula (currently it is 33 percent, due to rise to 38), he said he was waiting for PM Zapatero's reply.

Roads l Matas said the most spectacular change had been in infrastructures, which he described as “historical.” He claimed that most people backed the Partido Popular's star programme for infrastructures, although he did not make a direct mention of motorways. Most of the projects will be completed in this legislature.

Energy l THE gas pipe, the electricity cable between Ibiza and Majorca and Ibiza and Formentera will be in operation in 2007. The cable link between the Balearics and the Peninsula between 2009 and 2011.

Water l The Balearic Water Agency will be set up in 2005 to replace Ibasan and Ibaen. Matas underlined work in water courses, sewage treatment, Sa Costera and the new desalination plants recently confirmed by the central government.

Education l Matas claimed that his government has introduced a transcendental rupture in the criteria on education, and he defended choice of school and language as its achievements. Bilingualism in education, he said, is the expression of freedom of choice.

Environment l Matas said his government had passed from rhetoric to deeds. He announced a new law on the conservation of land, based on respect for private property.

Health l He spoke of an accumulated deficit of 335 million euros and said that 1'589 million euros was needed to cover needs for 2005. He stressed the plan for new amenities (Son Dureta II among others), the reduction of waiting lists for appointments and operations, and new technologies (with Son Llatzer as a pioneer).


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