Today is Europe Day and the Balearics have good grounds to celebrate with Brussels set to increase its financial aid to the region by nearly 80 per cent over the next six years. With the Balearics celebrating “Europe is young” with a host of events being staged today for young people, it can also raise a glass to Europe being highly profitable. During the period 1994 to 1999, Brussels ploughed 14'795 million pesetas in to the Balearics and, thanks to good management of the funds by the previous local governments, over the next six years, a further 26'569 million pesetas will be forthcoming, an increase of 79.6 per cent. The director general for the Economy, Antoni Monserrat, has embraced the idea of more European Union money and says that the increase is part of the European Union's changing attitude to helping European regions. But while the money has been well managed by the previous governments, the regional development plan for the next six years which has been accepted by Brussels, was drawn up by the present Balearic government and presented in Madrid last month. According to Monserrat, one of the key factors which Brussels is finally starting to recognise is that the Balearics has a huge floating population which needs to be accounted for and that the region's natural resources, hospitals, beaches, public transport services and roads etc., are not only used by the permanent population, but also by the millions of visitors each year, many of whom are European. The European Union's growing awareness of the Balearics' needs is also being mirrored by the increasing interest in Europe by the Balearic population. The Balearic European Centre last year held 143 seminars informing people about the Euro which were attended by 10'500 adults and over 5'000 secondary school students. The CBE also dealt with 524 professional and 421 private queries. The Centre, in co-operation with the Balearic government, yesterday launched a new information website.

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