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Staff reporter THE European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, said in Soller yesterday that the EU does have funding for “special regions” like the Balearics.

Photo: J. Morey

Ferrero-Waldner is in Majorca accompanying her husband Francisco Ferrero Campos, director of the Cervantes Institute in Brussels, who gave a lecture to Club Ultima Hora last night in Palma.

Yesterday she admitted that the European Constitution is “going through a difficult time.” Q. Is the future of the Constitution in danger after the negative response from some member states?
A. These are difficult times, but in every crisis their is a moment of opportunity so we have to make the most of that - that's why we've decided to have a period of reflection. Austria, when it takes over the EU presidency in June will have to draw up a report on how we can move forward.

Q.What is the European Union's primary concern?
A. The Commission made it clear during the last meeting that the public seem to be most concerned about unemployment and there appears to be certain unhappiness over the need for constant modernisation while on the other hand people want quality of life.

We need to give greater importance to education and these, amongst many other things, are on the programme for next year.
Q.Will the EU be providing help to isolated regions like the Balearics?
A.All of the regions, especially the Balearics, can seek funding which is important for the region's development.
Q.Has the EU's aid for tsunami-hit South East Asia been correctly invested?
A.The aid funds are being correctly invested. I have personally been out to Indonesia to witness the extent of the devastation.
International aid organisations have pledged a vast amount of money but the problem is co-ordination.
That is why I have ordered that a European office be set up to co-ordinate the relief effort.
Q. Is is true that the Euroepean Union intends to open an office in Iraq?
A. Yes once a government has been legally elected. We want to show the Iraqis that the EU favours a stable Iraq, this is very important for the Middle East as a whole. At first we'll open an office in the Green Zone (safe zone) then we'll see.