Spain's regions finally meet 28 years after democracy arrives

28th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

28 October 2004, MADRID - For the first time since the fall of the Franco dictatorship, all Spain's political leaders met for a conference Thursday.

28 October 2004

MADRID - For the first time since the fall of the Franco dictatorship, all Spain's political leaders met for a conference Thursday.

Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez led the conference of all the regional prime ministers at the Senate, the upper house of the Spanish parliament in Madrid.

The role of the 17 Spanish regions in the European Union and the new EU Constitution were the main subjects for debate.

In a closed-door session lasting three hours, the so-called Conference of the Presidents also debated the model of the modern Spanish state.

The main opposition conservative Popular Party urged the meeting to remember the principals of "cohesion" and "unity" which formed the basis of the democratic Constitution which was signed in 1978.

Zapatero proposed making Ceuta and Melilla, two Spanish cities in North Africa, into two new autonomous regions.

Jordi Sevilla, minister of public administration, said during eight years when the PP was in power it had been unable to create a climate to bring all the regions together.

But Eduardo Zaplana, PP spokesman, said that his party took part in the meeting despite knowing beforehand the "grotesque" use which the Socialists would make of the meeting for party-political purposes.

Pascual Maragall, prime minister of the Generalitat, the Catalan regional government, said "at least the prime minister admits that in this country is formed of regions".

The Basque prime minister, Juan José Ibarretxe, wanted to attend the meeting to air ideas from the regions with other parts of Spain and the central government.

The politicians later lunched with the King and Queen at the Zarzuela palace.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

 

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