STAFF REPORTER
PALMA

BALEARIC President Francesc Antich, announced yesterday that he would be eliminating two of of his regional ministries and cracking down on the use of official cars, mobile phones and senior government expense allowances as part of the Islands' contribution to slashing the national deficit.

The two departments earmarked for removal are the ministry for Agriculture and Fisheries headed by Merce Amer and the ministry for Employment, hitherto run by Pere Aguiló.

Antich announced simultaneously that the ministry for the President's Office run by Albert Moragues would be taking on responsibility for Agriculture and Fisheries and that the present regional Minister for Tourism, Joana Barcelo, will additionally become responsible for Employment. Antich specified that, similar to measures already undertaken by Palma City Council, he would be reducing spending by his own government team..

The President is in a position where economic pressure - and Central Government cost-cutting policy - is forcing him to rethink the structure of his cabinet. Some of yesterday's cost-cutting measures were seen as a gesture to the Partido Popular and Majorcan Unionists who have demanded that Antich “streamline” his administration. The President added that he had already held meetings with representatives of local councils to find out just what their financial commitments are. “Sometimes the town halls assume costs which should be borne by other government institutions,” he clarified.

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