Staff Reporter
THERE is a war of words over the new roads agreement brokered in Madrid by former Balearic leader Francesc Antich. The new agreement is worth 569 million euros, but the central government wants to take over control of the roads and it would leave some of the Partido Popular's macro road projects without finance.

The funding would be spread over 15 years, and would cancel out the 381 million euros of the previous agreement, signed with the last government under José María Aznar.

Under the new deal, some of the road works which the Balearic government started without waiting for the approval of the central ministry of public works (including the Inca-Sa Pobla motorway) would not receive funds from Madrid. Others would modify plans, such as the proposed alternative to the second ring road of Palma.

The central ministry, run by Magdalena Alvarez, had announced in December that it would not keep the agreement signed by her predecessor Francisco Alvarez-Cascos, alleging that the regional government had broken it by contracting work without the supervision of her ministry and changing budgets and time schedules without consultation. The Balearic government, however, maintains that the old agreement is still in force, and is prepared to go to court to prove it. Matas, in fact, is hoping to obtain the full funding from the old agreement, and is prepared to negotiate what he calls the “additional” agreement, which would provide the islands with more than 900 million euros for roads.

Matas said that he was convinced that the central government will finally take on the previous agreement “signed in its day by legitimately constituted governments” either via the courts or via talks. He added that both governments should be capable of separating the past from the future.

He added that the negotiations with Madrid would continue to be handled by deputy leader Rosa Estaras and the minister of public works and transport Mabel Cabrer.

Fernando Rubio, the spokesman of the Partido Popular (PP) in the Balearics, spoke out against the new agreement yesterday, claiming that it reduces the Balearic government's power of decision.

He criticised Antich, considering his work as mediator as corresponding to “personal and party interests”. He also felt that the new agreement was “an act of disloyalty” as it did not take the regional government's posture into account.


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