Spanish economy grows at fastest pace since financial crisis

MADRID – Official figures show the Spanish economy grew by a strong 0.8 per cent in the fourth quarter compared with the previous three months.

The National Statistics Office said Friday the economy grew 3.2 per cent for all of 2015, its strongest expansion since before its economic crisis started in 2008.

Spain only emerged from recession in late 2013. It’s now one of the European Union’s fastest growing economies but still has a 21 per cent unemployment rate, the second highest in the 28-nation bloc after Greece.

Acting conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy had hoped the recovery would help him be returned to office in last month’s election.

His Popular Party won most seats but lost its parliamentary majority and is struggling to win support from other parties to stay in power.