Balearic leader Francesc Antich said that the naming of the Balearics as European region of the Year 2003 would be “an exceptional platform for showing the values of our Community.” He was speaking at the ratification of the appointment which took place in the Consolat de Mar yesterday, in the presence of Xavier Tudela, president of the European Region of the Year organisation. He said that the naming of the Balearics would be an opportunity “of great importance” for the Balearics, and will enable it to promote its environmental, economic, social and educational projects. “It is a great satisfaction for us,” he said yesterday. He went on to say that the purpose of naming the Balearics was to “define a support strategy for the construction of Europe in the short, medium and long term, in a manner agreed by all the economic, social and ruling bodies of Europe.” “The agreement which we have signed today, means recognition of the regions of Europe within the European Union and it is an exceptional platform for spreading the values of identity of our Community,” Antich stressed. He went on to speak of new contributions to the construction of Europe stressing that “this is always a relatively slow process because of the essential changes it implies.” He continued by saying that the objectives of the Balearics are to “help establish a strategic horizon for the islands in the European Union. He also said that one of the objectives is to promote citizen participation in the projects which will be set in motion from January 1. Tudela said that the Balearics had been chosen out of 28 candidates thanks to the project presented by Antich's government to promote the construction of the European Union. He added that it would mean a “before and after” in the history of the archipelago. He pointed out that there are 250 regions in the 15 countries of the European Union, and that regions were increasing their strength. Tudela said that Europe had managed to adapt to the new national structures, pointing out that the Treaty of Rome was signed 45 years and three months ago. Witnesses of the acceptance of the agreement included representatives of the Councils of Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza and Formentera, the Balearic Parliament and the Federation of Local Municipalities. In addition to the Balearics, the Russian republic of Carelia has also been named European Region of the Year for 2003.

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