Madrid, and specifically the ministry for energy, tourism and the digital agenda, is demanding that the regional government provides explanations about what happened to fifteen million euros of state investment earmarked for the redevelopment of Playa de Palma.
The investment relates to the period 2008-2011 when Francesc Antich was president of the PSOE-led government. Madrid says that unless there is some justification for expenditure, it wants its money back. This investment, and what happened to it, is the reason for Madrid's decision to pull out of the consortium for Playa de Palma.
The national ministry believes the money was spent on, for example, paying suppliers. The regional tourism ministry's general secretary, Pep Mallol, concedes that three million went on expenditure needs. At the time, this was explained to the national secretary-of-state for tourism, Joan Mesquida, and the regional tourism minister, Joana Barceló (both of them PSOE).
Mallol adds that of twenty million euros which were transferred through the agreement on state investments, eight million have been justified, while 12.3 million euros are pending. On top of this, there are the three million that went on current expenditure needs.
He further explains that the agreement in 2009 involved total investment in Playa de Palma of 83.5 million euros. For budgetary reasons, however, Madrid, decided not to apportion more money. Mallol notes that this didn't stop the national government investing in the AVE high-speed train.
The regional government, Mallol says, doesn't have room to manouevre in solving the problem. It is analysing the impact of Madrid withdrawing from the consortium, and it will also lodge an appeal in the courts against Madrid's "unilateral decision".
Mallol points out Palma and Llucmajor town halls could reclaim urban planning powers that they ceded to the consortium. Meanwhile, residents in Arenal will be asking politicians to explain why money for Playa de Palma was used for other purposes. The hoteliers' association in Playa de Palma is also frustrated. Its president, Francisco Marín, says that commitments over more than years have not been met. For him, the use of money for other purposes was a fraud.
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