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The week at a glance...Europe

Europe

Gibraltar
Spain threatens blockade: A dispute between Spain and Gibraltar over fishing rights could turn into an economic blockade of the tiny British territory at the entrance to the Mediterranean. The spat began two weeks ago, when boats from Gibraltar dropped concrete blocks into the sea to create a reef as a fish habitat. Spain complained that the reef would block its fishing boats, and imposed border checks in retaliation, slowing traffic and trade onto the peninsula and forcing Gibraltarians to wait for hours in searing heat to cross to their homes. As the dispute escalated, Spain threatened to impose fees to cross the border. Fabian Picardo, chief minister of Gibraltar, said Spanish leaders were behaving like erratic dictators. “The Spanish have always claimed rights to Gibraltar’s waters that they don’t have,” he said.

Rome
Convict in government? Italians are divided over whether Silvio Berlusconi should quit politics now that he’s been convicted of tax fraud. The former prime minister was sentenced to four years in prison last week for fraud associated with his Mediaset media empire. Though he will likely serve only one year, it was the first conviction to be upheld in dozens of corruption trials over his two decades in politics. If he stepped down right away, the People of Freedom party he heads would likely pull out of the governing coalition, and Italy would have to hold early elections. Prime Minister Enrico Letta wants to avoid such an outcome, but the leader of Letta’s Democratic Party, Guglielmo Epifani, called on Berlusconi to resign. “That is what would happen in a normal country,” Epifani said.

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