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Summary Box: Spain OKs drilling off Canary Islands

The Associated Press

Unemployed Pedro Poblador, 40, is seen surrounded by anti-eviction activists during a protest in Barcelona, Spain, Friday March 16, 2012. Pedro, who failed to pay the mortgage of his home after losing his job is now protesting in front of the bank to try to stop the eviction scheduled for the next days. Spain already has the highest unemployment rate in the 17-nation eurozone with more than five million unemployed and more than eleven million people poor and at risk of social exclusion, as the economic crisis continues. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

DRILL AWAY: The Spanish government on Friday authorized oil drilling off the Canary Islands, one of Europe's most popular tourist destinations, in a bid to ease the country's expensive dependence on crude imports. Spain imports more than 99 percent of its oil.

THE DETAILS: The government awarded a permit to the Spanish company Repsol YPF SA to drill off the Canary Islands, which receive some 9 million visitors a year. The company expects to start drilling in two years or so.

THE BACKGROUND: Spain is under intense pressure to reduce its deficit and convince international investors that its economy can return to growth, become competitive, and deal with the painful fallout of a burst real estate bubble.