By Humphrey Carter

PALMA
THE Balearic European Centre in Brussels will next week be hosting special Balearic Day celebrations and to mark the event, the Balearics is going to ask the European Union to significantly increase the amount of European regional Development Funds it receives.

At present, the Balearics is handed 15 euros per capita every year by Brussels but the local government maintains that, because of the huge costs incurred for being islands, that the annual hand out should be increased by 35 million to 50 million euros per year.

With a population of nearly 1.2 million, the Balearic government claims that the region needs, and deserves, because of the costly problems of being an “isolated region”, 35 euros per capita per year. The Balearic Ministers for Commerce, Transport and Economy, Carles Manera, Gabriel Vicens and Francesca Vives, held a joint press conference yesterday to announce the government's intentions. Vicens claimed that the Balearics “has to meet costs no other isolated region in Europe faces.” He underlined the transport problems Ibiza, Formentera and Minorca have to overcome as an example.
The government's Director General of European Funding, Jaume Garau, said that the Balearics “is asking no more that what other European island regions receive.” The Canaries, for example, receives 74 euros, Madeira and Sicily 186 euros per capita per year, Corsica 72 euros and Sardinia 52, “we only want to be treated fairly” said Garau.