Spanish PM Zapatero in Canaries to continue talks on the islands’ economic crisis

José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero has been in the Canaries for a further crisis meeting with Paulino Rivero, President of the Regional Canarian Government (original post yesterday, immediately below). Zapatero announced that during 2009 and 2010, €162 million is to be allocated to the Canaries by Central Government to revive the islands’ economy and its tourism. The Spanish PM also announced the creation of a working group to implement the Economic and Fiscal System (Régimen Económico y Fiscal – REF) “for the new vision of diversification in the islands’ economy”. Zapatero said that the measures went way beyond a mere fight against the crisis and unemployment.

With specific reference to tourism, Zapatero announced a 30% discount in airport landing taxes, a benefit amounting to €4 million. A further €100 million is also to be directed at the improvement of touristic establishments, with more to come when these works are completed. The PM calculated that more than 300 projects will benefit from the funds. A €10 million touristic promotional campaign will also be undertaken by the National Government, in association with the regional Authority.

The Canaries will also receive €9 million in 2010 for reindustrialization and the creation of a new industrial fabric in disadvantaged areas. There were also discussions about the implementation in the islands of the Iris Nova advanced communications network for the academic community and investigations in fibre optics, a development which is fundamental to acquire €1,000 million of EU investments in the Canarian Astrophysics Institute.

Zapatero also announced a co-Governmental meeting in July between Madrid and the Regional Parliament to evaluate the possibilities of increasing assistance for transport of merchandise between the Canaries and the peninsula. He further committed himself to projecting the Canaries internationally, and in terms of their connections with Africa as a “vector of the future” for the diversification of the islands’ economy.  Canarias24Horas

Original Post 28 June: Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero will be in the Canaries tomorrow for continued talks with Paulino Rivero, President of the Regional Government. Discussions have been going on for months into how best to help the Canaries deal with the economic crisis afflicting everyone, but which has seen the Canaries suffering worse than many. Sr Zapatero will be accompanied by Ministers for Industry, Employment, and Development, respectively Miguel Sebastián, Celestino Corbacho and José Blanco, who will meet their regional equivalents.

The Canarian Government is hoping that Zapatero will guarantee the €600 million the islands need for restructuring and investment in industry and tourism. Zapatero and Rivero last met a couple of months ago in Madrid, and one of the measures much mooted at the time was a huge reduction in airport taxes to help makes flights to Tenerife cheaper. That issue is expected to be fundamental to the discussions this time, as well as measures to help the impact of the recession in the Canaries, and the islands’ high level of unemployment, currently running at more than 26%.  Canarias24Horas

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