President Armengol and Ione Belarra on Thursday. | Pilar Pellicer


The Balearics will receive 64.3 million euros for social services from the Spanish government's distribution of European recovery funds. The 64.3 million will be spread over three years, starting with 17.8 million for this year.

Just over half the total - 33.2 million euros - will be for the building of 430 new places in care homes and day centres. In signing the agreement in Palma on Thursday, Spain's minister for social rights, Ione Belarra, said that it will mean that a beginning can be made on investing European funds that "reach the pockets of the people of our country".

Belarra added that, with Covid vaccination well advanced, Spain has arrived at a "key moment to lay the foundations for social reconstruction". "The pandemic has taught us that when everything else stops, care does not stop and is key to sustainability." She stressed the need to provide adequate long-term care and for institutions to invest in order to guarantee dignity for the elderly and those who are in a situation of dependency.

President Armengol emphasised the focus there is on social services and the care economy. This will be relevant in improving the economic model, as it is a niche for creating quality and stable jobs. She said that "older people have suffered a lot, they have complied with health regulations and, on many occasions, have had to do so alone".

Balearic social affairs minister, Fina Santiago, observed that Europe is recognising for the first time that social services are part of the solution to the need to diversify the economy. "Until now they were only social funds. But now they are within an economic structure. They are not considered to be just spending but as investment in job creation."