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MADRID – Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and the leader of the economically powerful Catalonia region are holding a crucial face-to-face meeting Wednesday in what could be a last chance for the two men to resolve a bitter dispute over the region's plans to hold a secession referendum in November.
The independence campaign holds profound consequences for Spain as it emerges from its worst economic crisis in a generation, with Catalonia as a major driver of growth.
Rajoy will meet Catalonia President Artur Mas in a closed-door session following months of clamor by political parties and business groups for the two to try to come up with a roadmap to prevent the dispute from boiling over — but there is little expectation that they will succeed.