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CROWN Prince Felipe, the Prince of Asturias, speaking yesterday on Minorca, praised the efforts which had “transformed the island into a model of sustainable development which will allow it to confront the challenges and opportunities” of a globalised world.

With these words, the Prince ended the ceremony closing the events celebrating the centenary of Minorca's Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Navigation (created in 1906), which took place in the Teatro Principal (which itself is nearly 200 years old) in Mahon, where the first performance in Spain of the opera La Traviata took place.

The Prince expressly travelled to Minorca to take part in this centenary. He is supporting similar celebrations in various places in Spain to show the support of the Crown for the entities which unite one of the sectors which is vital for the economic growth of Spain, business. On his arrival, he was greeted by Jaume Matas, leader of the Balearic Government, Arturo Bagur, the Mayor of Mahon, and Magdalena Pons, the President of the Chamber of Commerce. The Prince was accompanied by the Secretary of State for Commerce and Tourism, Pedro Mejia. At the door of the theatre many Minorcan residents, who recalled the visit of the Prince and Princess in May 2005 shortly after it was announced that Princess Letizia was pregnant with her first child, gave the Prince a warm reception, to which he responded by going walkabout. Once inside the theatre, the Prince presented diplomas to the representatives of the Chamber of Commerce's 24 oldest member companies and praised the three last Presidents of the Chamber: Luis Hernandez Mercadal, Matias Montañes Merino and Hipolito Mercadal Pascual.