The Partido Popular's Marga Prohens said that the government didn't know where to begin with some of its tourism policy. | Teresa Ayuga

President Armengol hit back at the Partido Popular's Marga Prohens today by saying her government had been "brave" in introducing the tourist tax, which has so far raised 32 million euros in revenue.

During the second day of the parliamentary debate into the state of the community, the Prohens proposed that there should be a "grand pact" for tourism that will define tourism policy for the next twenty years. She suggested to President Armengol that a commission of experts should be created, one consisting of politicians, business people and ecologists.

Prohens made her proposal having highlighted the government's lack of definition in, for example, "not knowing where to begin" with the regulation of holiday rentals. "What are we doing about tourists? Do we have too many or not?" She was stressing the apparent differences between Armengol, who is not in favour of limiting the number of tourist places, and tourism minister Biel Barceló, whose party - Més - wants to put a ceiling on the number of places.

The PP spokesperson branded Armengol "weak" in that she is dependent on other parties. She said that the president was "afraid" about "shadows" cast on her assets (a reference to Armengol's involvement in the purchase of a Palma attic property, which in the end didn't go through). And she claimed that Armengol had been "kidnapped" by Podemos, which had imposed "irregular assistance" to one of its leading figures, Daniel Bachiller, in exchange for parliamentary support for Armengol.

Prohens reiterated a previous point that the debate was being held as "a disguised question of confidence", asking Armengol if she can be guaranteed having the backing of her government partners when it comes to approving the budgets for 2017. She considered Armengol's speech on Tuesday to have been "poor" and that the president had boasted of achievements that were the legacy of the previous (PP) administration. In fifteen months of government, Prohens alleged, there has been "a lack of management and a lack of courage in addressing problems".  

She continued by saying that rather than taking advantage of increases in revenues, the government had mounted the largest raid on taxpayers in the history of the regional administration. Prohens argued that "financial mess" in the Balearics was not the fault of the national finance minister, the PP's Cristobal Montoro. "Despite the financing received from the state, the government is not capable of paying." The 367 million euros increase in debt in the course of one year, despite economic growth in the Balearics, was evidence that the government is a "bad payer".  

The PP's spokesperson also attacked the government's environment, education and health record, and claimed that the creation of the faculty of medicine at the university - "a grand project of this legislature" - was simply in order to give positions to friends.

Responding to Marga Prohens, President Armengol announced that 32 million euros have been raised by the tourist tax since its introduction on 1 July. This will be invested on water resources, environmental improvements and the primary sector, i.e. agriculture.

"We have been brave," asserted Armengol. The tax had been brought in despite the opposition of parties like the PP, which she accused of not having had the courage to have implemented a similar tax. "Better late than never," was her response to Prohens' proposal for a "grand pact" for tourism. "After having tried to destroy everything, the PP now wants a pact."