Francina Armengol, president of the Balearics (centre)

Francina Armengol (centre) in parliament on Tuesday.

15-12-2021Jaume Morey

Bank of Spain figures show that the Balearics debt in October was the highest ever - 9,378 million euros. The regional finance ministry, accepting that it was particularly high, says that by the end of the year it should be down to below the figure that it was at the end of 2020 - 9,120 million euros. If so, this would be only the second time that the debt has been cut in absolute terms. The other occasion was in 2018, when the year closed with a debt of 8,721 million, lower than the 8,816 million in 2017.

The Balearics is one of Spain's regions with the highest level of debt relative to regional GDP - 29.4%. The highest of all is 47.8% in Valencia, while it is 38.7% in Castile-La Mancha and 37% in both Catalonia and Murcia.

The debt grew over three consecutive administrations - those of Jaume Matas (Partido Popular) from 2003 to 2007, Francesc Antich (PSOE and partners) 2007 to 2011, and José Ramón Bauzá (PP) from 2011 to 2015. When Matas became president (succeeding Antich), the debt was 858 million. By 2007 it was 1,798 million. When Bauzá took over in 2011, the debt had risen to 4,774 million. Under his PP administration it went up to 8,330 million.

The debt accrued by Bauzá was, however, different in that it was mostly all Spanish government lending as a consequence of the financial crisis.

Under Francina Armengol, the debt has risen but nothing like it had. She and her government attribute the rise mainly to underfunding through the regional financing system.

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