17/09/2012 Canary Islands/Spain (BG) - A further bombshell could be dropped on the residents of the Canary Islands in the near future as the Spanish government reveal they are considering scrapping, or significantly reducing, air and sea transport discounts afforded to residents of the Canary Islands, Ceuta and Melilla.
The measure is being considered as preparation efforts for the 2013 state budget intensify. President of the Canary Islands, Paulino Rivero, described the possibility as “a step backwards that would result in serious consequences” and “further unjustified punishment for the Canary Islands”.
Rivero added that “a decision to this effect would further alienate the Canary Islands in terms of their connectivity with the mainland and generate a very serious problem”. He believes “Any modification of the current transport subsidies would be counterproductive in terms of ensuring the territorial cohesion of the state”.
The president claimed it “has taken years of hard work” to achieve the current discount rates and recalled that “in 1998 residents of the Canary Islands enjoyed only a 10% discount on inter island travel and a 33% discount on trips to the mainland”. He added “We needed a lot of effort to convince the various governments of the need to increase discounts to those in the area furthest from the mainland and now they are considering taking it all away again”.
Riviero concluded by stating the Canary Islands were “ignored by the State Administration in many infrastructural projects already but they must not cut the residents discount as they require this type of support measures to remain connected to mainland Spain and the continent, and therefore are dependent on it to increase their levels of social cohesion”.