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Presidency

Consell chief sits down with head of Balearic parliament

foto-reunio-presparl-2019-12President Alejandra Ferrer met today at 11.00am with Parlament chairman Vicenç Thomàs in the offices of the Consell de Formentera. Ferrer welcomed the official visit, calling it “a way to bring the parliament and Formentera together” and affirming “that’s important for our local government and it’s important for our people, too”.

The pair discussed an array of subjects at the gathering, including, said Ferrer, “the need to work towards sustainability, a common goal for the four islands and an area where Formentera has made real progress. That’s been thanks in part to last term’s parliamentary passing of legislation on Formentera’s environmental and financial sustainability”.

A priority for the present legislative term will be to push through the so-called “law of the Consells” (llei de Consells), which President Ferrer called “fundamental for the Consell de Formentera, especially given our unique role as combined island council and town hall”.

Ferrer also highlighted the General Committee on the Island Councils (Commissió General de Consells Insulars), created at the close of last legislative term to build cooperation between the island councils and parliament. The president described the ambition as “a key part of advocating for the the special features of each island—especially crucial in our case because we’ve only got one representative at Parlament”.

Ferrer also voiced hopes that a new run of committees be convened to bring islanders in on discussing issues specifically relevant to Formentera. Mr Thomàs confirmed plans within Parlament to continue on the same course as last term and keep finding ways to connect the individual islands with the parliamentary body.

Senator for Formentera

Thomàs also spoke about a draft bill, tabled last term by Gent per Formentera and PSOE, to put to rights the Constitution so it reflects Formentera’s right to its own senator.

“On the parliamentary side of things the work is done”, underscored Thomàs, who said the challenge now lay with Congress, and the three Balearic congressional delegates’ role in ensuring the issue is addressed in Madrid: “In my mind it’s a good thing if we’re frank with ourselves and recognise that the legislation puts Formentera in a position to, at some point in the future, have its own senator”.


4 October 2019
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

Consell de Formentera green-lights wholesale elimination of single-use plastics in government buildings

foto ple oct 2019 2Members of the Consell de Formentera gathered today for the local government's full-house assembly for the month of September. The gathering brought approval for “plastic-free Consell de Formentera”, a pioneer measure set for implementation across government offices and buildings. Backed by the Consell's environment office, the proposal envisions giving staff and visitors of government buildings the means to stop using single-use plastics.

Environment chief Antonio J Sanz said government buildings would be equipped with some twenty water fountains and government employees and visitors would be provided bottles, like those seen at today's assembly. Sanz pointed out that legislation in Europe, Spain and the Balearics would be on the government's side as Formentera took what he called “a path-treading step forward”. “That means getting the buy-in of islanders as well”, he added, “so that they use the fountains when visiting Consell buildings”.

The governing team will encourage employees of the Consell to progressively begin using equipment that's available round the workplace, not to mention to nix single-use plastics in their individual work spaces. The government will also work with organisations and schools to promote measures aimed at doing away with single-use plastics in those places as well.

Maritime transport ordinances
Assembly members came together in support of a proposal to urge the Govern balear to urgently pass a decree required for legislation on maritime transport in the Balearic Islands. In their statement, council members called on the regional government to “seek the full consensus and backing of Formentera's local council as the Govern strives for a decree that safeguards the environment and serves the general public”.

Reasoning that the harbour in La Savina is the only point of entry and exit on the island, mobility councillor Rafa González described the adoption of such a decree “a priority, because it affects all of Formentera”. He pointed to key areas like guaranteeing the first and last ferry of daily service, avoiding overlapping departure times and resolving the issue of the so-called “maritime excursions”.

Assembly members also opted to include in their communication with the regional government a technical report highlighting cases in which nitrogen dioxide emissions exceeded the legal limit, occasionally by as much as two-fold. González said the data offered yet more proof of the urgency of the decree—“so we can avoid repeat cases of pollution, knock-on effects on the environment and risks to human health...this is about protecting islanders' best interests”.

Additional proposals
Another proposal to garner cross-party support was a measure calling on Abaqua to urgently relocate a new wastewater pump station originally included in a planned works project for Es Pujols town centre. Infrastructure chief Josep Marí advocated “an installation that meets the needs of this tourism-centred town and is conducive to better maintenance”. A deal between the Consell and Balearic Port Authority (APB) on prevention, fire-fighting and civil defence was also passed unanimously.

Backing was also secured for a proposal to urge the Balearic government to keep its promise to accommodate more zero- to three-year-olds in public schools, increase assistance for school meals and boost school attendance among children of at-risk families. The goal, according to assembly members, is to have every child attending school and making early-childhood education totally cost free. The same proposed statement urges the central government to “change laws that currently emphasise mere attendance to reflect the educational importance of the zero-to-three years”.

Lastly, the GxF-PSOE governing team passed a transactional measure brought by Sa Unió  to ensure the 75% discount on air and sea travel in the Balearics is kept intact in government spending and the Special Register of Ships and Transport Firms (Registro Especial de Buques y Empresas Navieras; REB). Authors of the proposal also called for the establishment of a special observatory to obstruct abusive price increases at the hands of airlines. The proposal passed with the support of the GxF-PSOE governing team, despite Sa Unió abstention.


27 September 2019
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

Consell de Formentera and Govern stake upgrades to energy model on coordination

reunio-4-1-The president of the Consell de Formentera, Alejandra Ferrer, received a visit today from the Balearic minister of energy transition and manufacturing sectors, Juan Pedro Yllanes. The first encounter of its kind, the working meeting saw Ferrer and Yllanes agreeing on the need for coordination in key areas like assuring access to government benefits related to the environment, business, and power supply and the energy transition on Formentera.

Ferrer highlighted recent glitches on the local supply of electricity that occasioned service interruptions and other incidents this summer like a fire in la Mola. “The Govern has pledged its support in getting the firm in question to conduct maintenance to pre-empt any repeats of our situation this summer”, said the president. She also underscored “the need for collaboration in areas like inspections to prevent unfair competition”.

Meeting attendees also tackled the question of the es Ca Marí electricity substation and the activation of a third power cable. Ferrer stressed the importance of analysis in order to gain a clear sense of the shape of Formentera's energy situation. That will be key, in Ferrer's words, to “seeing how we're doing, determining what's still necessary” and making sure islanders are cutting consumption and moving toward clean energy.

The regional minister asserted that on such matters, Formentera's idiosyncrasies “feature prominently on the Govern's radar”. He also pledged his ministry's unflagging support for small- and medium-sized business and held up the Govern's commitment to getting the third electricity-supply cable classified as a public-interest project in order to speed up its installation. He additionally insisted that a sound path towards energy transition locally meant “coordination between Madrid, Palma and Formentera is key”.

Others on hand at the meeting were the director general of energy for the Govern, Ferran Rosa; Formentera's councillor of housing, seniors, trade and entrepreneurship, Ana Juan; the local councillor of mobility and territory, Rafael González and the island councillor for environment and inspections, Antonio J Sanz.

4 September 2019
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

Ruling confirms Consell de Formentera upheld fundamental freedom of association

Ruling number 229/2019 of the Contentious Administrative Court number 3 of Palma de Mallorca, dated 2 September 2019, rejected claims from the UGT that the Consell de Formentera infringed on islanders’ fundamental right to associate with trade unions.

The ruling states no attempt was made by the Consell “to impede or object to Señor Mateos’ fulfilment of his duties as a union affiliate”. Hence, the end of Mateos’ temporary assignment was not related to his union activities, rather to the fact he didn’t meet terms of a job pool.

Namely, the plaintiff neglected to report for duty during a three-month trial period, claiming secondment to a trade union—unaware that the tenth term of his employment conditions stipulated that only when the trial period elapsed would his hire be complete.

The court censures the plaintiff for “not appearing for work although the employment in question figured on a list of temporary positions that were particularly important and pressing”. According to the ruling, “the plaintiff arguably misrepresented himself and violated articles 6.4 and 7 of the Spanish Civil Code”.

Appeal
Besides throwing out the plaintiff's claim that his fundamental freedom to associate with a union was infringed upon, the ruling makes clear that his right to effective legal protection was upheld.

The court found that one fundamental right of the claimant which was infringed upon was equal access to public employment. This rendered Mateo's termination as a temporary civil servant null and void.

The court reasoned that “a decision of this nature should only have come after the corresponding procedure was followed”. In that case, and in presence of the plaintiff, the defendant could have “determined whether application of the condition in question was appropriate”.

The Consell de Formentera did not pursue any meetings of the sort with the plaintiff, deeming such action incompatible with case law established under ruling 37/2017. That ruling calls for the strict application of any terms concerning discretion.

Consell legal services are looking into presenting an appeal before the High Court of Justice of the Balearic Islands (TSJIB) to revalidate the plaintiff's termination and reject his claims entirely.


9 September 2019
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

Consell de Formentera unites behind proclamation on Europe's migrant crisis

signatura-codi-e--tic1At the August plenary assembly held today, members of the Consell de Formentera came together to make a statement about the migrant crisis in Europe. Councillors reaffirmed “the Consell's commitment to human rights and solidarity with society's most vulnerable”.

In the statement, councillors voiced “their full-throated rejection of the statements, attitudes and political convictions of the Italian interior minister, Matteo Salvini” concerning migrants picked up by the ship Open Arms. “The uniqueness, diversity and welcoming spirit of the people of Formentera stand in diametric opposition to the patent lack of sensitivity and empathy in Mr Salvini's words”, it continues. Councilmembers also included in the statement a plea to the Spanish government to “take a leadership role in European Union policies, pushing for migration policy that is driven by the will to safeguard the human rights of those fleeing conflict and persecution”.

Cross-party support was likewise secured for two proposals from the senior cabinet councillors. The first includes a plea to upgrade and reinforce Formentera's land and sea security corps in summer. Infrastructure, industry and interior councillor Josep Marí stressed that the seasonal spike in tourist activity made “reinforcements necessary to ensuring the safety” of Formentera's people, waters and environment.

Assembly members voted in unison to urge the Balearic ministries of environment and agriculture to take steps to improve operations at the waste water treatment plant and to coordinate them with upgrades at the osmosis and filtering plant in order to deliver a better-working irrigation pond.

Unanimity likewise marked the vote on a proposal from Sa Unió to promote 'Smoke-free beaches'—a Govern balear programme of health and environmental safeguards. According to environment councillor Antonio J Sanz, the Consell de Formentera has already taken steps to join the drive and a study will be undertaken to determine which beaches might be part of the measure next year.

An announcement was also made before assembly members regarding the temporary appointment of Daniel Azagra as head of communication.

Support for code of ethics
Minutes before the day's session began, councillors signed their pledge to uphold the Consell de Formentera's Code of Ethics and Good Governance, which received final approval at last month's full-house assembly and has already been published in the regional gazette (BOIB).

The document sets forth values and standards of behaviour for administration officials to follow while on the job. It also establishes a system for checks and revisions to ensure the initiative's success, part of a bid to make local government transparent, effective and efficient.


30 August 2019
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

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