By Humphrey Carter
THE President of the Balearics, Francesc Antich, yesterday claimed that the Balearics has come through the worst of the recession and that the local economy is on the road to recovery.
However, Antich was forced to admit that the road to full recovery is going to be a long and slow one.
The President said that providing the Balearics can meet its economic growth forecast of 0.6 percent in 2011, the region should start heading for full economic recovery from the beginning of 2012 and reach full recovery in 2013.
SIGNS OF LIFE
We've got through the worst of the crisis and the economy is beginning to show signs of life again, he said.
If, in 2011, the economy grows by 0.6 percent, I think that by 2012 or 2013 we can seriously begin talking about a full recovery and economic stability, Antich claimed.
Whether he will be able to see it as President remains to be seen however with the municipal elections looming in May.
Antich was quick to stress that slim economic growth is not going to lead to rapid job creation but he did highlight the improvement in the tourist industry in the second half of this year and expressed his optimism that the coming year will witness a significant improvement in the Balearics' holiday industry.
All the current indications point to an increase in visitors next year, he said.
Antich believes that the Balearics is one of the autonomous regions of Spain best positioned to emerge from the recession early, but he stressed that the situation could change, and possibly for the worse, very quickly, because the Balearics does not depend on itself but a host of external factors.
Looking ahead to the forthcoming local elections, Antich said that it is very difficult to predict whether the electorate will punish the Socialist party, like it did in Catalonia recently, for the wave of cuts, pension reforms and record unemployment figures.
Antich claims that the latest polls suggest that the PSIB Balearic Socialist Party has actually gained support because, locally, the electorate is well aware of the fact that the tough decisions are being taken by central, not the Balearics, government.
I just hope that the Balearic voters appreciate the tough challenges we have had to overcome here, he said.