The Balearic government plans to take its appeal against the central government's plans to liberalise commerce to the Constitutional Court. The plans include freedom to choose opening hours and the possibility of opening petrol stations in hypermarkets. The local government claims that by law, the central government cannot change shopping hours unilaterally and must pact any changes with the autonomous regions in advance. Deputy chief minister Pere Sampol said yesterday that the central government decree was a direct attack on local commerce. He added that his government would do everything in its power to prevent what he called “an attack on our economy.” The decision to go to the Constitutional Court will probably be approved at the first government meeting to be held, and the local parliament will be asked for its backing. Small shopkeepers in particular are opposed to liberalising opening hours. They say that they cannot compete with supermarkets, hypermarkets and department stores which have a large number of workers.

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