Kate Mentink was elected to the council of Calvia four years ago and she is Counciller for Tourism in Mallorca. She is also the director of the Department of Tourism and the Department for Foreign Citizens in Calvia, where she has assisted European Non-Spanish residents in Mallorca with many different issues. What is going to happen to the department for foreign citizens in Calvia when the new office in Palma opens? The department in Calvia will continue to operate as always and will continue to be my responsibility until the forthcoming elections in May 2007.
How do you feel about relocating to Palma?
I do not see it as a relocation as such, given that I will be carrying out both roles for a period of time. It is more additional duties and an expansion of what has been a successful venture in Calvià.
Who can seek advice in the department for foreign citizens?
Any individual, group or association resident in Calvia or the Balearic Islands.
Who finances the department for foreign citizens?
In Calvia the Ayuntamiento and in Palma the Regional Government.
What kind of advice do you offer?
Many citizens regard this department as a form of insurance policy to obtain information regarding administration and the social and cultural life within the municipality.
What are the most frequent questions or problems European citizens have?
Advice is given on everything from setting up businesses, enrolling children in school, buying property, senior citizens bus passes, health cards, obtaining or renewing “residencias”etc. However, the most requested advice sought is regarding registering on the “padron” (muncipal register) and all the corresponding benefits this brings, plus the census/electoral register for their right to vote.
What has changed for foreign citizens in Mallorca since you took office?
I believe that the work in Calvia and Baleares is created in Europe “of and for” the citizens and therefore not just a distant bureaucracy. With the new department the intention is to develop the project already started in Calvia and expand to similar service in other Town Halls where there is a significant number of Non Spanish European Citizens. We will also be expanding on our extremely popular lessons in both Castellano and Catalan, particularly to members, clubs and associations. Projects include a multilingual webpage and an advisory board for Europeans.
Department for foreign citizens Palma
Conselleria d´Inmigració i Cooperació
Calle Alfred Bonet, 6 1º