STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
CENTRAL Government is investing 544 million euros in the Balearics this year, regional President Francesc Antich said yesterday, over 200 percent more than the Islands received in 2006.

Giving a presentation on last year's state funding with Balearic Minister for the Economy, Carles Manera, Antich confirmed that a series of meetings are to be held this month between the regional government and its counterpart in Madrid, as well as with major banks, to prioritise funding. The aim is for the staged investment plans to be fully in place by the beginning of February.

Antich said that last year, Central Government investment in the Balearics had totalled 414.7 million euros, considered to be “an historic record which is going to be broken again in 2010.” The President added that in 2009, the regional government also signed funding agreements with Madrid to the tune of 196.3 million euros. This money will be used this year for environmental projects, heritage protection, transport, technology, communications, and research and development.

Antich said that the investment provided by Central Government had been so high because of the “complete understanding” which existed between the ruling Socialist party (PSOE) in Madrid and the regional coalition government based in Palma.

Antich claimed that it was a very fortunate situation to have a like-minded Central Government so that “efforts and policy could be combined to achieve the best possible results.” The President alluded to other financial arrangements agreed on between regional and Central Government to fund promotional activity by the Spanish Tourist Board in conjunction with the individual Balearic Island Councils; another totalling 568.6 million euros to pay for road building in the Islands; and a staged investment of 190 million euros for housing development.

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