Prison. Work starts on the State?s most ambitious project


In response to doubts expressed regarding the effectiveness of measures to be taken by the authorities to combat the economic crisis, the President of the Island Council replied that direct public investment in Menorca this year would reach 181 million euros, a sum that he felt to be sufficient to halt the recession.

Marc Pons admitted that the Island Council was limited in the action it could take but was confident that the protection offered by the regional and State governments would safeguard the future. "We have the mechanism, although limited, to overcome this situation and place ourselves in the best position for when the wind becomes favourable again", he stated, explaining that the Island Council's strategy was based on long term and short term actions.
In addition to the 181 million euros that Menorca will receive in direct investments, further funds will be forthcoming in respect of the Plan ARI (to reform properties in the old quarters of towns), the Plan Renove (to modernise tourist establishments), the programme to detect water leaks announced a week ago by the Balearic Government and valued at half a million euros, and the scheme to develop tourist cycling routes which will receive 450,000 euros.

The 181.75 million euros will come from various sources: 21.9 million from the Island Council of Menorca; 39.35 from the State Government; 16 from the National Government's Local Investment State Fund; 10 in respect of statutory investments; 77.5 from the Balearic Government; 5 million from the Balearic health authorities, IB-Salut; and 12 from the Balearic Government's Educational Infrastructure Plan.

With regard to tourism, Marc Pons explained that short term actions were concentrated on trying to extend the season, with 70% of the promotional budget being used to attract new airlines and increase the number of seats available. In the long term the Island Council was committed to developing technology, using the 3 million euros provided by the Balearic Government to broaden the Internet coverage and lay fibre optics on industrial estates. The infrastructure would also benefit from plans such as those for renewable energy, roads, public transport and the coast.

An additional aid to overcoming the current economic situation will be the plan for new projects in the agricultural sector that is currently going through the Balearic parliament and will provide 22 million euros for new investments on around fifty farms in the Balearic Islands, ten of which are in Menorca.