STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
THE opposition Partido Popular (PP) is increasing the pressure on the Balearic President, Francesc Antich, to demand more money from Madrid.
Central Government's model of financing the autonomous communities has long been a bone of contention in the Balearics.
The PP claim that the time for “victimhood” is now over and that the Government must “demand” that Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero fulfills his electoral promise to bring in a fairer model of financing for the islands.

The PP believes that the autonomous community should receive a “minimum” of another 500 million euros.
Catalina Soler referred to the “unfulfilled promise” of the Prime Minister during a press conference to express her party's opinion on the recently-published figures of the autonomous communities. The latter reveal that the Balearics, alongside Madrid, Catalonia and Valencia, contribute the most to keeping the poorer regions of Spain afloat. “We need a new system of finance now,” said Soler, who lamented the fact that the “promises” made by Zapatero in relation to this issue had been forgotten so quickly.

She said that Zapatero had done nothing to improve the situation during the four years of the previous legislature and the first four months of the current one. “The approval of a new system of finance cannot be delayed a day longer,” said the PP spokeswoman.
Josep Aguilo, the PP's economic spokesman, said that the “serious problem” in the Balearics was not the fiscal estimates but financing from Madrid. He said that for this reason his party was insisting that any new system that was negotiated must mean an increase of at least 500 million euros to bring the Balearics in line with the rest of the autonomous communities. Central Government had to also fulfill its “economic” promises in terms of direct investment in rail, road and water infrastructure and the project to renovate the Playa de Palma, he added. “These are things that central Government must do and that the Balearic Government must demand,” said Aguilo. He added that the new system of finance had to be approved straightaway and take into account the fact that the Balearics were at a disadvantage because of their insularity, as well as the rapid growth in the region's population.

Soler concluded by saying that the PSOE in the Balearics, as much as the executive, had to demand the approval of the new system of finance.

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