Catalina Cladera is on the war path. | BIBI


The spat between Palma and Madrid over Financing for the regional government is to be the subject of a meeting between the two camps on Tuesday. Catalina Cladera, the Balearic finance minister, will sit down with the national minister (acting), Cristóbal Montoro, and inform him that the Balearic government rejects his demands on addressing the region's Deficit: Montoro announced earlier this week that he will be freezing 257 million euros of funding if there is no adjustment plan to comply with deficit requirements.

Cladera has expressed her rejection in terms of "rebelling against unjust measures", and legal services at the regional government are studying means of challenging Montoro's demands.

Pilar Costa, newly installed as government spokesperson, echoed Cladera's sentiments, describing as "objectionable" the letter from Montoro. She also called for greater "consistency" from an acting government and minister, suggesting that Montoro should be "acting" for everyone and not singling out what he wanted to. The minister was demanding, she said, "cuts in a coercive manner".

Montoro has said that he will act to ensure that suppliers to the Balearic government are paid within 30 days. Cladera observed yesterday that his requirements were not like this during 2015, when the average period of payment was the same as it now is (almost double the 30 days). She accused Montoro of "criminalising and attacking regions" (the Balearics is not alone in this regard).

It was not the case, she suggested, that the regional government was not capable of meeting deficit targets, saying that "unachievable targets" had been set while at the same time the financing of the regions had not been adjusted. It is difficult to meet such targets when there is underfunding and the deficit targets are so low.

She defended the adjustment plan already advanced by the Balearic government, which has been given support by independent bodies such as the Airef, authority for fiscal responsibility. It has said that there is a moderate risk of the Balearics, given the budgets for 2016, missing stability objectives.

The Madrid meeting may also include President Armengol, and she has been making contact with other regions facing similar types of demand from the national finance ministry. Cladera noted, though, that the Balearic situation is "not as extreme" as those of Aragon and Extremadura.

She said that "we do not accept this attack on the citizens of the Balearics", warning that Montoro's actions threaten the basic services of health, education and social services as well as Balearic business productivity. The national government will be urged, she concluded, to correct the bad deficit deal, the marginalisation of state investments, which have repeatedly not been complied with, and the general system of financing.