Carles Puigdemont and Francina Armengol.

20-05-2016Teresa Ayuga

The Balearic and Catalonian governments today agreed to begin working on a new autonomous financing system which will be of greater benefit to the two regions.

The Balearics and Catalonia have for decades been two of the regions which have paid the most in taxes into Madrid’s central reserves but in return have received the least. This is why both regions have been having problems with tackling their deficits. Madrid, especially in the case of the Balearics, has been loathed to release money owing to the region.

The Balearic president, Francina Armengol, who has enjoyed a certain amount of success in forcing Madrid to hand over money owed to the region, held talks today with the president of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, in Palma. Both agreed that by joining forces they would have a much stronger argument to present to central government, whatever happens at the forthcoming general elections at the end of June.

Armengol said that the Balearic government has had enough of being "mistreated" by Madrid. "Not only do we have to deal with the challenges posed by being islands, we also have to overcome the lack of fair financing from Madrid. What we are talking about is inward financing on behalf of Madrid and since the Partido Popular came to power it has only got worse.

"The previous PP Balearic government was too scared to take on its peers in central government. Now we have a left-wing coalition in power, we have to fight even harder to get what we deserve. Hence why we have teamed up with Catalonia, which also wants a fair fiscal and financial agreement with Madrid."

But in the long term, Puigdemont, who supports independence for Catalonia, said that the region will be self-financing and not have to depend on Madrid.

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