President Armengol with other politicians and recipients of awards at the gala event for Balearics Day at the Palacio de Congresos. | Teresa Ayuga


Today is Balearics Day. There are events to celebrate the thirty-fifth anniversary of regional autonomy. They carry on until Sunday and started yesterday.

President Armengol inaugurated this year's celebration and yesterday highlighted the "culture of internal federalism" that exists in the Balearics. She said that the Balearic Islands have grown and are growing economically and that there is ever more social cohesion. The government, she observed, will continue to focus on the improvement of the rights of citizens and on the redistribution of wealth.

She described Balearics Day as one that recognises "where we have come from and how we have worked together for 35 years". She was convinced that "together we are stronger", stressing that work will continue in Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza and Formentera in order to increase prosperity.

Armengol presided over the event last night at which the Balearics Gold Medal was awarded. Held at the Palacio de Congresos, the event was also attended by the president (speaker) of parliament, Baltasar Picornell, and the presidents of the four island councils. In addition to what she had said earlier in the day, Armengol spoke about the need to defend freedom of expression and once more reiterated her hope that the Balearics will soon have a special economic regime that will "truly compensate for the disadvantages of insularity".

The recipients of the gold medal were Lluís Quintana-Murci and Carme Riera. Quintana-Murci, born in Palma in 1970, is the scientific director of the Pasteur Institute in Paris. His research specialism is human evolutionary genetics. Carme Riera, who turned 70 in January, is also from Palma. She is a leading writer in both Catalan and Castellano and a member of the Spanish Royal Academy.

The Ramon Llull Prizes were also handed out. Among those receiving the honour this year were the now retired judge, José Castro, and the boat building and maintenance company Astilleros de Mallorca. A further recipient was Deborah Hellyer, who was British consul in Minorca until 2015.