The Spanish Government has held a cabinet meeting today in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to approve the Strategic Plan for the Canaries, a package of measures to help stimulate the ailing economy of the islands. Principal among the aid announced by José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero is an investment of 25 billion Euros over the next ten years, 10 billion Euros of which will be invested over the next four years.
The Canaries, said the President of the Government, has been hit harder than any other area of Spain by the economic crisis, but is also in an ideal position to benefit from future African and South American business links. In respect of specific measures, Sr Zapatero highlighted the construction of 210 wind farms comprising an investment of 14 million Euros and capable of producing 32,700 megawatts per annum. Also, the improvement of the radio-electric renewable energy system. There will also be a 160 million Euro investment in technological parks, and 9 million Euros up to 2014 for re-industrialization.
Other measures concerned with employment include the setting up from 2010 of two centres for professional training of national-level standing; the improvement of sustainable agriculture and biosphere, as well as help for the fishing fleet. In terms of tourism, the Touristic Infrastructure Plan was highlighted, a scheme which will involve a 120 million Euro investment, and in which the Government expressed particular interest in including scientific tourism as a new model. It will relieve many in the islands too, that a freeze on airport taxes was also announced for 2010.
The entire plan will have two committees to follow progress to guarantee its proper functioning. The first will be at national inter-ministerial level, and the other bi-lateral, and will require the Canaries as an autonomous region to formulate an “annual analysis” of the plan. Zapatero said that the entire plan was the result of extraordinary political efforts on behalf of the national and regional Governments, as well as island Cabildos and local Ayuntamientos, and that it would give the Canaries a secure future to look forward to. La Opinion