The government and the island councils have finally reached agreement on the transfer of responsibilities for tourism promotion to the councils. At a meeting in Mahon in Minorca, it was established that this transfer will take place before July.
President Armengol explained that the transfer will enable each island to allocate sufficient funding for promotion and that there had been agreement as to the effective cost of transferring responsibilities and what these responsibilities will be. There are to be further technical meetings to finalise the procedure.
The transfer of these powers was something that was set in motion by the previous government of José Ramón Bauzá. There have, though, been the stumbling blocks of what finance will be available to the island councils as well as the issue of how responsibilities are divided, bearing in mind that the Balearic Tourism Agency (part of the tourism ministry) has overall charge of tourism promotion.
During the Bauzá era, while the other three islands were seeking powers, Majorca wasn't. Maria Salom, then the president of the Council of Majorca, was concerned both by cost and by duplication. Indeed, she scrapped the tourism foundation, which has since been revived.
Under Miquel Ensenyat, the Council has been far more determined to obtain powers and has already been active in developing certain promotional efforts.
The meeting in Mahon was one of the periodic conferences of presidents, i.e. the Balearic president and the presidents of the four island councils (plus Vice-President Barceló and the minister for the presidency, Pilar Costa). A further topic was the approval of an institutional declaration criticising investments envisaged in the national government's 2017 budgets and the way in which these will "marginalise" the people of the Balearics.
The document supporting this declaration demands an improvement in state financing of the Balearics, greater compensation for the costs of insularity and an increase in state investments. All these would address deficiencies in public services and reduce the Balearics' chronic public debt.
Armengol noted that investment for the Balearics is due to fall by eleven million euros to 148 million this year. The Balearic Islands are well back in the queue among the country's regions, with 128 euros of state investment per head of population compared with a national average of 184.