l The Balearic Government has agreed to put in place a pioneering educational and training programme for immigrants so they can, in future, return to their country voluntarily.

The plan is to provide courses and skilled labour training to foreigners so they are able to find work when they return to their home country. The authorities have confirmed they will be investing over two million euros in the scheme, considerably less than similar projects in the past (almost nine million euros last year).

The pioneering project will extend until 2015 although this year the overseas focus of Social Services department will be solely on providing humanitarian help to refugee populations and technical assistance to countries in North Africa. Executive officials have confirmed that the government and the United Nations have agreed to colaborate in helping refugees from Palestine and the Middle East and also help improve the educational system for Palestinians living in the Gaza strip.

The Foreign Affairs department also confirmed plans to provide help and assistance to the Friend of the Sahara Association which was established in Spain in 1999 and specialises in cultural and economic projects.