Staff Reporter THE President of the Balearic government, Jaume Matas, has formally requested a meeting with the Prime Minister of Spain, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

Officials confirmed yesterday that the agenda of the proposed meeting will cover agreements between central and regional governments on the issues of highway funding and development, measures to be taken on air transport, and investment in the public train service. The Balearic government office issued a statement signalling that the request for an official meeting follows in the wake of an announcement made on 1 August by Ramon Socias, the central Socialist government representative in the Islands, in which he indicated that once the summer holiday period had finished, the Spanish Prime Minister would meet with regional President Matas to “resolve outstanding issues”.

When he meets Zapatero, Matas will be asking for clarification on matters concerning the public inter-island air service for Balearic citizens, the increase in airline tariffs in relation to the discount available for passengers who are resident on the Islands and flight connections from Minorca nad Ibiza with the mainland.

The Balearic president will be wanting to reiterate an offer he had previously made to Central Government of advancing up to 50 percent of the money necessary for applying the increase in discount on airline fares for the Islands' residents and for establishing direct air connections from Ibiza and Minorca with the mainland of Spain.

NEW AGREEMENTS
Matas is keen for these targets to become reality before the end of his government's present term of office. Another feature of the planned talks will be the Balearic leader urging central government to set up new road development agreements with the individual Councils. A request for such an arrangement had been made previously to the central Socialist government but to date, the Balearics have not received a reply from the Ministry of Public Works.

Matas will once again touch on the subject of railway transport transport development on Majorca. This is another issue that had previously been favoured by central government but yet again, the Ministry of Public Works has not furthered the project.