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Spanish PM says stability in Catalonia to trigger GDP growth

SPANISH PM SAYS STABILITY IN CATALONIA TO TRIGGER GDP GROWTH

Spain's prime minister says next year's economic growth could be adjusted strongly upward if normality returns to Catalonia following regional elections next month.

GDP growth expectations for 2018 had been increasing, but the government lowered the estimate from 2.6 percent to 2.3 percent, citing instability in the prosperous northeast, where a clash with regional separatist authorities has scared both companies and tourists.

In an interview with COPE radio Tuesday, Mariano Rajoy said the figure could rise to "2.8 or 3 percent" if stability returns.

Rajoy also said that he has no evidence that the Russian government is behind online interference in Catalan politics, but that 55 percent of accounts spreading fake news have been identified as coming from Russian territory and 30 percent from Venezuela.

"What's evident is that there are people interested in things not going well in Europe," Rajoy said.

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