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Spain's Rajoy plays up recovery hope for H2 2013


15:40, January 17, 2013

MADRID, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Wednesday said Spain could see economic recovery in the second half of 2013 which would come through clearly in the year to follow.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Rajoy defended his first year in office, stressing that the fiscal and labor reforms introduced by his right wing Popular Party were giving fruit.

"In the year since I took over the government I reduced the public deficit in a situation where we were in recession. I pushed through structural reforms and a reform of the banking sector," he said, with guarded optimism over the future.

"I think that the second half of 2013 is when we will start to see a recovery, and it will come through very clearly in 2014," Rajoy added.

The Spanish leader praised the European Central Bank president Mario Draghi for dispelling doubts over the future of the euro.

Meanwhile, Rajoy defended his decision so far to not ask for an EU bailout aside from the funds the European Union offered last year to refinance Spain's struggling banking system.

"We took a decision that was right for Spain," he sai

"The banking system has done a complete striptease," said Rajoy, before admitting that with around five million people, or some 25 percent of the entire Spanish population out of work, unemployment was the country's biggest problem.

"Recent job losses have taken place in the real estate sector, in the financial sector and in the public sector. But in other sectors of the economy jobs have not been lost. So the labor reform has started to bear fruit," he said.

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