The debate on the State of the Balearics continued in Parliament yesterday, with the spokesmen of the various political parties replying to Tuesday's speech by government leader Francesc Antich. Joan Buades, Ibizan deputy for Els Verds (the Greens, one of the parties in the ruling coalition), asked Antich where the changes he had promised were, as “the landscape of the islands continues to be a paradise for cranes.” He said that the Greens shared the view that the coalition could carry out “a different, better policy, thinking about the general interest,” particularly in comparison with the decades of rule by the conservative Popular Party (PP). Although he recognised the government's success in decentralising power in favour of the island councils, he slammed its planning policy, saying that the most “brutal” fact presented by Antich on Tuesday was that the construction sector in the Balearics had grown by seven per cent in the last quarter, double the growth of the gross Balearic product. He added that although Antich's speech had been in favour of defence of territory, Buades said “today like yesterday, the rhetoric of sustainability crashes against the omnipresent reality of cement.” He also said it was hard to understand why it is so hard for the government to declare new natural parks “when we are bottom of the league in Spain when it comes to protection.” The UM (Majorcan Union) has been on the verge of causing a split in the coalition on more than one occasion, but in Parliament yesterday, its leader, Maria Antonia Munar, guaranteed that her party would continue to work with the coalition “because this is the best time to work and find a solution to the problems of Majorcans.” She said that Majorcans did not want more laws, plans or projects, but solutions to their problems “and I think that UM can do this now, from the Council of Majorca.” Like yesterday, she repeated that Antich's speech had been the only one possible “because people cannot say what they want but what they can.” She said “we must be aware that Antich's government needs the support of four parties, in addition to the socialists, to rule,” adding that he should not worry because UM would give him their support. Most of her speech centred on the role of the island councils as “the real governments of the islands,” and she defined the law on Island Councils as the most important instrument introduced since the home rule statute was improved in 1983. Eberhard Grosske of the United Left described the government's achievements as “spectacular” despite the “permanent aggression” of the central government. He said that this legislature would be remembered for the start of initiatives to achieve greater citizen participation and the approval of the law on financing island councils, protection of the territory and the tourist tax. But despite the achievements, he said, he admitted that the coalition could not solve the structural problems the community has suffered for decades. Finally, he called for a serious debate on immigration, as it is “not the cause of the current economic development, but a result.” Deputy leader Pere Sampol of the PSM (Majorcan Socialist Party) called for the fiscal independence of the Balearics, in order to solve the islands' lack of resources and their problems. He also took the opportunity to criticise the central government for “illegitimate and anti-democratic intromission.” He told parliament that “without financial autonomy, there is no political autonomy.” He pointed out that the fiscal balance in the Balearics is favourable to the State to the tune of 250'000 million pesetas and said that “one thing is to share, and another to exploit us until we have the worst public services of the entire country.” The debate will continue tomorrow.

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