Mariano Rajoy in Palma yesterday.

21-04-2018Pere Bota

Speaking in Palma yesterday, Prime Minister Rajoy hinted that an increase in the residents flight discount to 75% will be contained in the state budget.

Rajoy was attending a Partido Popular conference that was principally to do with tourism. His words about the discount came a few days before what will be a crucial vote in Congress on the 2018 budget. He insisted that the government is doing everything possible to ensure that the price of air travel is not "a cause of isolation" for residents in the Balearics and the Canaries.

The prime minister attacked the Balearic government, saying that all it does is engage in fighting and inventing problems rather than taking care of what is working and correcting what isn't working. He accused President Armengol and the government of "demonising tourism" and of creating "phobias towards everything that works and that is good for Spain" - tourismphobia, "a most unusual invention". The main problem for the Balearics, Rajoy suggested, is that the region "has the misfortune to suffer from a government which is dedicated to inventing problems and promoting an agenda of division and confrontation".

While he said to regional PP leader Biel Company that he could rest easy on the flight discount, he added that "those who cannot sleep peacefully are those of the ecotax ... those who are against tourism and want to have things in budgets but then vote against them". He was referring here, it seemed, to the fact that PSOE have called for the increase in the flight discount but have been unwilling to support the budget.

Álvaro Nadal, the minister for energy, tourism and the digital agenda, had opened the conference by observing that people who oppose tourists are acting out of "ideological rage" and are unable to recognise reality. It doesn't make sense for someone to believe that tourism is harmful. "Those who say this would rather live in a cave and not buy anything from the rest of the world." They don't understand, he added, how the economy works.

Likewise, the minister went on, those who approved the tourist tax in the Balearics "don't understand how the global economy of the 21st century works".

With regard to Brexit, Nadal said that the Spanish government's position is that there should be no impact on tourists: not on flights, not on health cards and not with any tax. "In practical terms, tourists shouldn't be aware of Brexit."

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Andy Rawson / Hace 11 months

A nurse who has worked in Palma hospitals for 15 years has been given her notice because her Catalan is not up to standard. Catalanazification rumbles on.

+1-

John / Hace 11 months

Rajoy is right, they have to build more hotels, more roads, more highways, more docks. More people has to come to make the economy grow (we need cheap slave labour). This is good for the economy! We can only stop when Mallorca and Eivissa are like Hong Kong. Then, and only then, we can focus on Menorca. It will be lovely. Everything will be destroyed, but we will still have the sun and the booze!

+2-

TC / Hace 11 months

WOW A lot of positive response speaks volumes

+3-

RBMM / Hace 11 months

Rajoy is probably a good politician, but he has an education in law and not in business or economics. I can't say that I'm impressed by him seemingly arguing that the measure of success is the number of tourists. I don't believe any politician in the Baleares are against tourists. Rather, they are for controlled tourism which is quite different. And as Richard and George mention the schools are not so good on the islands - supposedly among the worst in Spain. Today all focus is on tourism and that is very risky. The Baleares need to develop other sectors as well.

+3-

Richard / Hace 11 months

George how right you are. While I respect the right to learn Catalan, in today’s world Spanish kids need Castellano then English. My Spanish friends (those who can pay for private education) still complain that Spanish teachers don’t understand enough English to be able to teach it properly (let’s face it, English is not an easy language to learn because of all the nuances etc.) They want native English speakers to teach their kids. Luckily for me, my kids are learning Castellano, English and German all at the same time. With a little Catalan in 4th place. I suppose if I wanted to go further I could place them in a certain school here that also teaches Mandarin and Arabic but I think that I prefer them to spend that time learning life skills with me...all that important stuff that schools don’t teach (money, sex, social media, empathy, emotional resilience etc). Especially Spanish schools, who seem useless on this stuff (as well as teaching only answers to questions, not how to think...another complaint of my Spanish friends).

+13-

Steve Riches / Hace 11 months

I don't know enough about Rajoy to endorse everything he stands for, but his views on tourism and on the irrational Balearic government are correct. It's a matter of simple economics.

+25-

george / Hace 11 months

Basically this Catalan obsession, has damaged the last 15 years + generation. Their are youngsters whom have left the school system with Catalan as their main language. How confusing to go to school and one teacher is teaching Maths in Catalan but the following year you are taught Maths in Castellano. How sad that no Native English or German speaker can be employed in the system. So RACIST.

Confusing a Generation.

All children on this island could so easily leave school speaking four fluent languages, with no stress of learning the language. Think of their worldwide job opportunities.

The attitude of Catalan, Catalan, Catalan has been so wrong.

The winners have been the private school system.

+20-

Ron / Hace 11 months

Sr. Rajoy has said how it should be, and let's hope it will be after next year's elections. (How I wish I had a vote! ) For me it was interesting to note that during this conference Sr. Company (leader of P.P.) also referred to the controversy regarding the need for musicians in the Balearic Symphony Orchestra to have a B2 in catalán to be considered for a position. (Re: my letter last week to the editor). He mentioned that if Chopin were to be here now, he would not have had permission to perform!! He also said that (jokingly - I hope) soon tourists arriving at the airport will also need to produce a qualifacation in catalán! Nationalists -be careful what you wish for!! And by the way - why pay Melia Hotels for conference space at the Hotel Victoria when we have already contributed to the mega purpose built conference centre??

+29-

Henry James / Hace 11 months

For once the Spanish Prime Minister is spot on.

+27-

Antonia / Hace 11 months

Finally, someone who actually says it how it is - well done Prime Minister Rajoy. There is another word for tourismphobia, just plain old fashioned bigotry. I want to live in a Mallorca that is inclusive, not a Mallorca where you are only welcome if you fit their criteria for what is a legitimate citizen of Mallorca. Spanish should be given equality of status with catalan and the local government should stop treating everyone who is not like them as if they are a problem! That would be a great start!

+24-