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Rajoy assures that Spain will grow 3% in 2018 if “normality” returns to Catalonia

Ⓒ AFP/Archivos – Pau Barrena – | Mariano Rajoy speaks during a pre-campaign event of his Popular Party, which he attended on November 12 in Barcelona

The president of the Spanish Government, Mariano Rajoy, promised on Saturday that the GDP growth would reach 3% in 2018, well above the latest forecasts, if the “normality” returned to Catalonia, where elections will be held on December 21.

“If we recover normalcy, stability and tranquility, that growth of 2.3 will be next year a growth of 3%,” predicted the conservative leader at a pre-campaign rally of his Popular Party (PP) in the city of Mataró, near Barcelona.

In mid-October, at the height of the pulse with the Catalan separatists, Madrid revised down the growth forecast for 2018, to 2.3%, compared to 2.6% previously announced. For 2017, the forecast is 3.1%.

Numerous organizations, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), warned against the risk of an economic slowdown in the fourth economy of the euro area as a result of the crisis in Catalonia, which represents the 19% of GDP.

Most analysts estimate that the final real impact will depend on how long the tensions last.

Tourism activity, retail trade and car sales decreased in Catalonia in October, after the self-determination referendum declared unconstitutional, in the midst of heavy police repression.

The campaign for the regional elections of December 21 will begin officially on Tuesday. The elections were called by Rajoy at the end of October, after intervening the autonomy of Catalonia shortly after the Catalan Parliament proclaimed independence.

The polls announce a balance between the independence and non-independence votes, which will complicate the formation of a government. In the last elections, in 2015, Mariano Rajoy’s PP only won 11 of the 135 seats in the Catalan Parliament.

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