STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
SIX out of every ten people in the Balearic Islands (62 percent) believes that immigration is not good for the region and more than half (53 percent) say that the foreigners that come fail to integrate adequately, a Partido Popular (PP) survey revealed yesterday.

The findings were produced on behalf of the opposition PP by market research company “Signe i Significat S.L.” through sample surveys amongst 850 people.

Presenting the results yesterday, PP Euro MP Rosa Estarás said that the study showed that 41.7 percent of people who were interviewed described the immigration to European Union countries in general as “excessive”, although 34.9 percent had apparently said that immigration would be acceptable if it could be controlled to the extent that people could only come if there was work for them.

Estarás alleged that immigrants who came to the Balearics with a job already waiting for them “won't fall into the hands of the Mafia” and will be able to have their Spanish residential papers put in order.

The Euro MP said that her party had always backed this policy since 2000 when the Foreigners' Law was passed.
Essentially the law says that immigration is fine as long as there is work for foreigners to do once they get to Spain.
Estarás said that if this policy is adhered to, immigrants are more likely to integrate adequately as they will have all the “rights and responsibilities” of a Spanish citizen.

She remained critical of the fact that in 1999, the current Balearic President, Francesc Antich had apparently asked for “papers for everyone” - whether or not they had a job,” as the Spanish Prime Minister, José Luís Rodriguez Zapatero did the following year.

As a result, said Estarás, there have been some very “complicated” cases of papers provided for immigrants who are not able to support themselves, to the point where Spain has been warned by the European Union and other non-member European countries about its “irregular” dealings in immigration. “The lack of organisation in legalising immigrants doesn't work and prejudices the rights of those who have their papers in order,” said Estarás, furthering that a black market in labour is swelling because the Mafia preys on people living in Spain without proper authorisation.

Meanwhile, a separate part of the survey undertaken by the PP showed that two thirds of the Balearic population believe that due to the current economic crisis, Spain is worse off than other EU member states, and just 3.3 percent consider the country to be better placed than others.

The same research alleged that nearly a third of those taking part in the survey said that the Partido Popular would make a better job of solving the country's economic problems.

Only 2 out of every 10 (20.7 percent) said the Socialists would be more effective. More than 80 percent of participants said that they knew that Spanish national debt was high but considered it not to be as excessive as those run up by Greece and Ireland.

Seven out of every 10 said that Spain had more unemployment than other EU countries, whilst 20.2 percent said that the level was the same, and 1.1 percent said that there was more unemployment elsewhere in Europe.

Estarás said that the more than 4 million unemployed in Spain puts the country in a “hitherto unknown” situation.

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