STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
THE Balearic Parliament yesterday rejected the new system of financing proposed by Central Government for the regions, claiming that the amount being spent per capita in the reguion is under the average being afforded to other parts of the country.

The move to register the Balearic Islands as being the “poor relation” of Spain was proposed by the opposition Partido Popular and received the backing of all political parties with the exception of the Balearic Socialists (PSIB).

A second point of the Parliamentary declaration, also agreed by all parties except the PSIB, stated that not only was there insufficient funding to cover the government's commitment to the residents of the Balearics, but there would be no means whereby the regional government could afford to reduce the public deficit. The Bloc party, a member of the ruling Socialist coalition, had agreed to back the PP initiative on the condition that the words “contrary to claims by the Balearic government” were omitted from the rejection proposal.

The same bargain was struck for the Bloc party's support of a fourth point of the declaration which proposed that the regional government should demand sufficient funds from Madrid, and to make any other arrangements it saw fit, to make sure that educational, health and social service responsibilities in the Balearics are met.

The Balearic Parliament made it very clear yesterday that “the regional government should not have to depend on “extra help” from the state “Competitivity Fund” or its “Supplementary Aid” programme to equal the average spend per capita enjoyed by other parts of Spain.

The core needs of the society of the Balearic Islands, said Parliament, should be met through the new state financing scheme and not through “marginal means.” However, yet more negotiation was needed to persuade the Bloc party to back the PP motion on this point.

Bloc leader Biel Barceló said that his party wanted the words “despite the fact that the current President of the Balearics had said that the funding would be sufficient” eliminated from the proposal.

A fifth point to the declaration was finally accepted by Parliament through the joint forces of the Partido Popular and the Majorcan Unionists (UM) but without the support of the Socialist/Bloc coalition.

It stipulated that the present Balearic government had failed in its commitment to secure special funding for the Islands - in the form of a “Balearic Regime” - whereby financial allowances are made for the region by virtue of it being an island community with particular transportation, energy and communication needs and a large floating population.

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