National government is blamed for the ills of the balearics

The Balearic government launched a broadside against the conservative rule of Spain by Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar claiming that the Balearics were being left to “fend for themselves without central administration finance.” There was fighting talk yesterday from Balearic leader Francesc Antich who said that they would be pushing ahead with vital projects such as their water and road plan “with or without help from Madrid.” “The government of Jose Maria Aznar is showing a complete lack of respect towards these islands. We have been forgotten. But my administration will continue to work on projects which we feel are necessary,” said Antich. “I am very concerned at the breakdown of relations between the local government and central administration in Madrid. Talks over vitally needed money for road and water projects are in deadlock. This is a terrible state of affairs,” he said. Vice-President Pere Sampol even accused the central administration of trying to work against them. It must be said that the central administration is governed by the Partido Popular, who are conservatives, while the local government is in the hands of a left-wing coalition, consisting of socialists, nationalists and the Green Party. To make matters worse the minister for the environment, who has overall control of all water projects, is a former leader of the local government (Jaume Matas) who was defeated at the last local elections by Antich. The breakdown in communications between Madrid and Palma could cost the islands dearly, though, because the central administration provides thousands of millions of pesetas in aid to the Balearics every year.

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