AUSTRALIAN and American residents in the Balearics, along with the other non-European groups in the region, had their long-suffering cause championed yesterday by Marlene Perea, president of the Federation of Immigrant Associations in the Balearics (FAIB). She approached the Islands' Immigration minister, Encarnacion Pastor to ask for voting rights in municipal elections for nearly 100'000 such immigrants who do not originate from any of the member states of the European Union. The president, who current heads 16 associations, declared that the town councils are the “nearest port of call” for non-EU residents. As a result, the groups feel that they should have a right to “have a say in changes that are being made in local government.” Perea also touched on other subjects with Pastor yesteday, such as funding for the Immigrant Associations, co-operation for the development of the countries of origin and ongoing educational programmes. With respect to discounts in air and sea travel for the non-EU immigrant group which are currently allowed to EU member state residents, the minister said that such considerations were a matter overseen by central government and the European Union. FAIB's president wants the immigrants themselves involved in focussing aid projects for their countries of origin and called for improved co-ordination by both sides to set up key services to support the non-EU immigrant population.

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