STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
GOVERNMENT spending in the Balearic Islands, which has been agreed for current and future projects, is in the region of 700 million euros, Carles Manera, the regional Finance Minister said yesterday.

He added that some projects which have been tabled for discussion but where no funding programme has been agreed, will be “put on a back burner” but gave assurances that they will be carried out eventually.

Manera was speaking yesterday in Parliament in response to a question from the Partido Popular (PP) opposition. He confirmed that the Islands have a very high level of public investment - 500 million from agreements signed with Central Government and another 200 million from regional funding.

When austerity measures were announced recently by Central Government to bring down the national deficit, Manera had been “unsure” about what money originally agreed with Madrid would finally come to the Balearics but yesterday he changed tack, answering confidently that the Islands would “get the money.” Earlier, in the same Parliamentary session, Partido Popular MP Joan Flaquer had said that if there were to be cuts in the 200 million euros earmarked for public spending by the regional government, it would have a negative impact on the quality of life and infrastructure of the Islands.

Flaquer had asked the ruling socialist government to take a stand against Central Goverment and demand that the Balearics be given all that it has been promised. “Historically the Islands have always suffered from a shortfall in terms of funding from Madrid,” said Flaquer.

Manera claimed that at the moment he didn't know how the austerity measures which were to be put in place by the Central Government would affect the Balearics.

On Monday, on a visit to Madrid, Balearic President Francesc Antich had reported that national Environment Minister, Elena Espinosa had remarked that as far as her department was concerned, everything “will essentially remain the same.”