THE Balearic Islands have 50'000 foreign workers on their soil, half of them from areas of the world outside the European Union.
This makes the islands the European region with the second highest level of immigrants for every 1'000 head of population.
Guillermo De Olives, the regional minister for Employment and Training, said yesterday that the Balearics has a rate of 23.2 immigrants for every 1'000 residents, standing only a short way behind the Dutch region of Flevoland, where the rate is 24.6 immigrants for every 1'000 inhabitants. The minister was speaking at the inauguration of the “International Seminar on Immigration and Equal Opportunity” which was attended by representatives of national institutions and organisations; and European associations. The conference forms part of a European Community equality initiative, “Equal”, which aims to locate and enforce common practices to control racism and xenophobia in the workplace. In the Balearics, these practices are being developed through a local programme subscribing to “Equal”, entitled Filoxenia. De Olives explained that its objective is to improve immigrant workers' qualifications through the creation of personalised training agendas. Yesterday's seminar was attended by representatives from Germany, the United Kingdom, and from the self-governing regions of Madrid and Andalucia, who, together with the Balearics, plan to develop joint strategy through the signing of a cooperation agreement, codenamed LOFT (Living One Future Together). The inauguration of the conference was attended by the regional minister for the Interior, José María Rodríguez, who gave prominence to immigration contributing to the “social revitalisation” of the Balearics, a region that “through virtue of history, strategic geographical location and economic development, can be described as an important migratory destination”. Institutions of pivotal importance contributing toFiloxenia included the Balearic government, the General Directorate of Social Services, the Council of Minorca, the Councils of Palma, Calvia, Ibiza, Porreres and Sa Pobla; the USO Union, as well as the Association of Moroccan Immigrants, “Al Maghreb”. Amongst the papers given yesterday afternoon, one was featured by Rosalía Guntín, spokesman for Action Group for Immigrant Integration (CEPAIM) in which she described work being undertaken to help both male and female immigrants apply on an equal footing in the job market. Guntín also spoke about the planned “Meeting Spaces”, which he said were informal discussion groups for Spanish and immigrant women.