THE new Balearic Islands Statute came into force yesterday, after its publication in the State Official Bulletin on Thursday, coinciding with the Balearic Day celebrations.

The new Statute's text, which was also published in a special edition of the Balearic Official Bulletin, “covers the fact that the region is made up of islands and therefore merits special protection”.

In addition to this, the text says that the Balearics “is a region of free people and for free people”, where the Catalan language and the culture and traditions “are identifying elements” of society.

It adds that “to advance towards a modern society it is essential to deepen and support social cohesion, peace and justice, sustainable development, protection of the territory, and equal rights”.

The new Statute, which has an introduction, 139 articles, six additional clauses, 11 transitory clauses and one Final Clause, contains new things about language and financial arrangements.

The Partido Popular (PP) and the PSOE (Spanish Socialists) agreed a new formula for State investment in the Balearics on November 22. This does not carry a specific figure, but reduces the time for additional money to be given by the State to the Balearics from 10 to seven years.

The introduction of the new Balearic Statute establishes that Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza and Formentera form an historic nationality and throughout the text supports the fact that being islands makes the Balearics different.

At the same time, it says that the public powers “guarantee the effective carrying out of all necessary measures to avoid this difference putting the islands at a financial disadvantage in comparison with other autonomous regions, which could damage the principle of solidarity between the autonomous regions”.

With regard to the Catalan language this will, together with Spanish, be the official language of the islands, and the institutions on the islands will guarantee the normal and official use of both languages.