THE Balearic business sector wants Madrid to guarantee the funding which had been promised by the outgoing conservative government. The plea, from the business confederation CAEB, had the backing of the tourist, construction, transport and commerce sectors. Josep Oliver, chairman of CAEB, said that they were pleased at the goodwill shown by Balearic leader Jaume Matas, of the Popular party, who has already asked former leader Francesc Antich of the PSOE (Spanish Socialist Workers Party) to support the cause of the Balearics with the new Socialist government in Madrid. He expressed a wish that the different ideologies of the two governments should not stand in the way of obtaining State funds for the Balearics.
He added that the central government should guarantee finance for the agreements on roads, even though the Inca-Manacor dual carriageway is postponed. As reported yesterday, Matas offered to drop plans for the controversial road, providing other road agreements were honoured and an additional 180 million euros was provided for other projects. Oliver said, however, the second ring road of Palma, another controversial project which has met with much opposition on the island, should go ahead as planned. He also asked the socialists not to hold up works which had already been adjudicated. CAEB says that the government should guarantee energy supplies in the Balearics “in quantity, quality and price” and Oliver spoke out in favour of the gas pipe and electricity cable links with the Peninsula to guarantee productivity and competitiveness for the Balearic economy. The sector also wants the government to develop the Special Regime for the Balearics, to “paliate the historical deficit which the archipelago has with the State.” It has long been contended that the Balearics contribute more to the State coffers than they get back in terms of investment. CAEB's proposals include “reasonable” air fares and co-management of the Balearic airports.
Francesc Antich, for his part, said he would not take any decision on Matas's proposal on his own, and before commenting on it, he will consult his party. He was not in Palma yesterday, but fellow spokesman Francesc Quetglas said that other party leaders in Majorca, Minorca and Ibiza had been consulted.
He spoke of “goodwill,” but said that there would be no immediate response.
The conservatives stressed that the socialists had only been asked to defend the position of the Balearics, not to negotiate the investments, which is a task which corresponds to the two governments.