by Joan Collins
THE Balearic Ministry of Economy yesterday criticised the agreement reached by the Spanish Government in the negotiations over the distribution of European Union funds from 2007 to 2013 and calculates that the islands will lose 60 percent of the funds they receive at present. A government spokesman said it regretted “the role played” by the Spanish Prime Minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, in the negotiations, the result of which “will mean a notable loss of resources for the whole of Spain, especially the Balearic islands”. The loss for the Balearics “according to first estimates” will be between 55 and 60 percent, which will mean a fall in income of 150 million euros. “In spite of the fact that the British proposal which was approved keeps the Cohesion Fund for Spain until 2013, the Balearics do not benefit from these funds. The only regions which have access to these funds are those in the new Objective 1, which includes just six autonomous regions and the autonomous towns of Ceuta and Melilla”, said Balearic Government sources. This will mean, it was added, that the islands will receive 106'000 euros less than at present. The Balearics will form part of the new Objective 2 “Regional Competitiveness and Jobs” which includes funds from FEDER and FSE. The Balearic cabinet calculates that the loss of funds in this aspect will be some 45 million euros, between 30 and 35 percent less than during the period 2000-2006.

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