King Felipe with Balti Picornell.

King Felipe yesterday received leading Balearic politicians at the Almudaina Palace.

President Armengol spoke to him about the need for a new economic regime for the Balearics that will mitigate the effects of insularity. Armengol said that the King fully understands the problems facing the Balearics and the need for measures to alleviate the increasing cost of living on the islands.

The president added that she did not discuss the Balearic law on bullfighting with the King but that they did talk about Catalonia. She told the King that she believes in a federal state and in dialogue in order to ensure that Catalonia remains part of Spain. She stressed that there have to be proposals by the national government for a satisfactory resolution of the situation with Catalonia once and for all.

Others who had an audience with the King were the president of the Balearic parliament, Baltasar Picornell, the mayor of Palma, Antoni Noguera, and the president of the Council of Majorca, Miquel Ensenyat.

Picornell of Podemos, known for his informality and for his Republican views, said that he was very happy to have met the King. They did not discuss Republicanism but did talk about problems being experienced by the government "pact" that have arisen because of the holiday rentals' legislation. He did though hand the King a gift - the book Aurora Picornell about the "Roja del Molinar" (red woman of El Molinar), who was shot in 1937.

He informed the King that he would be unable to attend the reception for civil society at the palace (scheduled for 4 August) because of other commitments. He explained that his diary was arranged three months ago and that, "as everyone knows", the Royal Household only gives short notice about occasions such as the reception.