Carmen Planas of the CAEB speaking before the politicians had their says.

07-05-2019Miquel À. Cañellas

Ahead of the regional elections later this month, the Confederation of Balearic Business Associations (CAEB) invited representatives of political parties to explain their economic agendas to an audience of businesspeople.

The CAEB president, Carmen Planas, started the Tuesday evening meeting by outlining the main requests that business is making of politicians: greater legal security, tax reduction and structural reforms.

At the top of the parties' lists was improvement to the model of financing for the Balearics. The six politicians at the meeting all agreed on this. They were the current employment, trade and industry minister, Iago Negueruela of PSOE; Biel Company, leader of the Partido Popular; his counterpart with El Pi, Jaume Font; the Més candidate for the Balearic presidency, Miquel Ensenyat; Antonia Martín of Podemos, number two on her party's list of candidates for the parliament election; and Patricia Guasp of Ciudadanos, who is number two on the Cs list.

On financing, Negueruela said that beneficial tax measures under the new special economic regime for the Balearics were a fact. Company disagreed in expressing doubts as to whether the new Spanish government under PSOE's Pedro Sánchez would finally grant these. Font stated that El Pi would not form a post-election pact with any party that was not prepared to press for "substantial improvements" in terms of the islands' financing.

Tourism was another dominant theme. Guasp of Ciudadanos announced that her party would eliminate the tourist tax. The PP and El Pi would reduce it, while the three parties of the current government pact defended the tax and also their individual parties' stances and attitudes towards tourism. Faced with criticisms from the PP, El Pi and the Cs, they all maintained that they are in favour of tourism. Negueruela stressed that tourism is the "tractor" for driving other sectors, and he promised that there will be Spanish government support for modernisation of mature tourist resorts.

Vox were not represented at the meeting.