The naming of the former Balearic Chief Minister Jaume Matas as the new Secretary of State for the Environment in prime minister Aznar's new cabinet was welcomed yesterday by environmentalists and opposition members in the Balearics, all of whom praised Matas's ability to listen and negotiate. No sooner had environmentalists urged Matas to open up new avenues of dialogue in order to reach swift but long lasting solutions to the problems facing the environment and natural resources, not only in the Balearics and across Spain, Matas announced that his primary objective is to open negotiations and modify and improve the country's water plan. But his successor as Balearic Chief Minister, Francesc Antich who defeated Matas at the last election, said yesterday that he hopes that having a Majorcan as Environment Minister will serve to help Majorca, especially when it comes to obtaining European Union funding for the Balearics. Antich agreed that the most important local and national issue to be resolved is the lack of water and called on Matas to secure funding from Brussels to help the Balearics solve its water crisis.

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