ANTICH GAVE PM TRUE ACCOUNT OF BALEARICS´ PROBLEMS

BALEARIC Chief Minister Francesc Antich, buoyed by being elected to the chief executive of the PSOE Socialist party on Sunday, met Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar for the round of talks Antich has been waiting over a year to hold. Antich went into the meeting with a busy agenda but topping the list of priorities was a “good level of institutional co-operation in order to find fair solutions to the Balearics' problems.” Aznar, ahead of yesterday afternoon's meeting said “I hope the meeting will enable us to understand each other better and the proposals the Balearics want to put forward.” Antich wants to push ahead with a new Balearic financial package which will see Madrid introducing measures to help compensate the Balearics for its isolation from the mainland and he also wants to return to Palma with a clear indication of what Madrid intends to do about the region's electricity problem, the water crisis and transport complications. So far however, the relationship between Palma and Madrid has been described as “strained” during the left wing coalition's first year in Balearic government, but Antich believes that Aznar is more than capable of appreciating the problems the Balearic population has to overcome and what solutions need to be adopted. Antich emerged from the meeting last night having given Aznar a “true account of the real problems facing the Balearics” and left him with a dossier of all the Balearic government's proposals to digest.

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