BALEARIC leader Jaume Matas and Maria Teresa Fernández de la Vega, the deputy prime minister, both agreed yesterday that the discrepancies on road building between the two administrations will not prevent nor put obstacles in the way of future agreements on the matter. But despite this, Matas insisted that his government has no plans to stand down over the matter and will continue to press the socialist government to honour the agreement signed with its predecessor.
At the same time, he will continue to negotiate new investments in roads.
De la Vega promised to set up joint committees to establish permanent dialogue between the two administrations, and said that she hoped relations would improve. From now on, we are going to sit down and work, and when something does not function, Matas and myself will fix it, removing any obstacles which may arise at a given moment. Apart from roads, the other major stumbling block is funding of the health service, and De la Vega announced that a new meeting with regional heads of government will be held in June to resolve the problem.
Matas has already warned that unless the central government provides more money for the service, his government will be forced to increase petrol tax, despite an electoral promise that he would not raise taxes.
Matas, who later described the meeting as positive and satisfactory also presented the deputy prime minister with details of the extra financing he hopes to obtain for the rail service.
Education is another of the fields in which he is pressing for more money, justifying it by underlining the increase in population which the Balearics have experienced because of immigration.
After her meeting with Matas, De la Vega also had talks with representatives of the hoteliers, the business sector, the unions and the Baleric University.
She described the meetings as highly interesting as they let her hear first hand the problems affecting the islands.
She expressed a willingness to work towards a solution of the major problems in a spirit of collaboration and solidarity. She stressed that the central government was making a great effort to re-establish dialogue, independently of which party holds power.