MINISTER for Immigration in the Balaearics, Encarnacion Pastor, agreed yesterday to take issue with central government over extending rights for air and sea travel discounts between the Islands and the mainland to non-European Union immigrants. The president of the Balearic Immigrant Federation, Marlene Perea, explained that currently only residents who are native to any of the 25 European member states are eligible for such discounts. However, if Pastor's mission in Madrid is successful, the privilege would be extended to non-EU groups which would include the American and Australian community who have traditionally felt marginalised by European legislation. Pastor confirmed she was going to recommend to Madrid that such allowances should be made to all residents in the Balearics. “We are going to try and get a result,” the minister said following a meeting with Perea and Immigration director, Juan Manual Gomez. Pera, whose federation comprises 16 immigrant associations founded on the Islands, acknowledged that it is central government and the European Union which “call the tune” on this issue but was confident that the regional Balearic government would do all it could to secure equal rights for non-EU residents on the issue of travel. Another matter on the agenda between the minister and Immigration Federatin president was the involvement of immigrant communities with the setting up of aid programmes for countries of origin. The rationale underpinning the move is that it is the immigrants themselves who best know what is lacking in their homeland. “We do not expect the ministry to be able to sort out all these issues in a single day,” added Perea.

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