ANTICH TO DISCUSS BALEARIC PROBLEMS, WHICH HAVE ESCALATED SINCE HIS ELECTION

BALEARIC Chief Minister Francesc Antich submitted a request for an interview with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar over a year ago and has at least been given the chance to travel to Madrid to meet the Prime Minister for talks about the Balearics' problem, which over the past year have certainly increased. The meeting is to take place on July 24 and Antich is expected to not only present Aznar with a pile of unanswered letters, but also ask the Prime Minister what he intends to do about the problems facing the Balearics, such as energy and water. While the Balearic government has welcomed the chance to finally hold talks with the Prime Minister, who was on the island last weekend with his Finnish counterpart but failed to see Antich, Balearic Presidential Secretary Antoni Garcias, said yesterday that these meetings should become a regular event “because the problems which mount up in the space of a year are many.” Antich is set to take this opportunity to try and re-establish relations with Madrid which have been somewhat strained since the left-wing coalition took over power in June 1999. Gracias pointed out that over the past few months a number of top Spanish ministers have visited the Balearic islands “but have not behaved as such, they have behaved like leaders of the opposition in the Balearics. Apart from the water, the energy problem will top the agenda. The government has come under fire over its new legislation to liberalise the market place in Spain, but the Balearics' government is concerned that as a result GESA's parent company ENDESA will not be able to go ahead with all of its investment and expansion projects planned for the Balearics.

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