12-04-2014Kika Triay

The Catalonian government shares Balearic concerns regarding the potential environmental impact of oil exploration in the Mediterranean. These were expressed at a meeting in Barcelona between Vicenç Vidal, the Balearic environment minister, and counterparts within the Catalonian administration as well as other Balearic representatives.

Catalonia's minister for sustainability, Josep Rull, pledged to work in favour of the declaration of a migratory corridor for cetaceans in the western Mediterranean as a specially protected area of Mediterranean importance. The sea between the Balearics and the eastern Spanish coasts of Catalonia and Valencia would, under this, receive a new level of protection that would help to prevent exploration projects.

During the meeting, there was discussion regarding technical co-operation with Catalonia in respect of making environmental impact statements, drawing on Catalonia's experience in developing reports against exploration. Consideration was also given to the drafting of the law on a Mediterranean free of prospecting, something that is due to be placed before Congress.

The Balearic government, along with the island councils and the Mar Blava alliance, is pursuing a strategy of forming alliances with other administrations, all with the aim of ending prospecting and making the Mediterranean free of the threats of oil exploration. There is, for instance, a protocol with the Valencia government to this end.

The regional government feels that the current acting national government has been extending concessions for exploration which go against this aim.

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