"Spain ended the year of 2017 with a growth estimated at 3.1 percent," Rajoy said at an investment forum in Madrid, pointing out in addition that 611,000 jobs had been created in the country during the year.
The Spanish leader noted, citing the government's forecasts, that until 2020, the annual growth for the Spanish economy is estimated at 2.5 percent, while the rate of employment is expected to drop to 11 percent.
According to Rajoy, the unstable political situation in Catalonia is "the only shadow looming over the economy" of Spain.
Catalonia held its independence referendum on October 1. On October 27, the Catalan government adopted a resolution on the region's independence from Spain. The Spanish parliament's upper house, in response, voted to invoke the Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, introducing Madrid's direct governance over the region. Rajoy then dismissed the Catalan government and its head, and called a snap parliamentary election that took place on December 21.
Although the Spanish centrist, pro-unity Citizens (Ciudadanos) political party came first in Catalan election, the region's pro-independence bloc, consisting of three political parties, won an absolute majority in the parliament, getting 70 seats.