October 26, 2017 / 7:46 AM / 10 months ago

Spain economy to grow above 3 percent this year despite Catalonia crisis: Economy Minister

MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish Economy Minister Luis De Guindos said on Thursday he sees economic growth of just above 3 percent this year despite a secession bid by the wealthy northeastern region of Catalonia.

Spain's Finance Minister Luis de Guindos talks to journalists after a European Union finance ministers' meeting in Luxembourg, October 10, 2017. REUTERS/Eric Vidal

The government currently forecasts the euro zone’s fourth-largest economy to grow 3 percent this year, but the standoff with Catalonia over its independence ambitions has prompted Madrid to slash growth projections for next year.

De Guindos told Cadena Ser radio that if the government’s plan to impose direct rule in Catalonia went well, he hoped to return to debate and pass the 2018 budget in the next few weeks.

The minister added he could not rule out some resistance in Catalonia over the government’s plan from the region, but was convinced regional civil servants would collaborate.

Reporting by Paul Day, writing by Isla Binnie

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