There is no turning back now.
Italy’s parliament has fully approved a 48 billion euro austerity package to bring the country’s economy back from the brink.
Following in the Senate’s footsteps, the lower house gave its green light to spending cuts and tax raising measures likely to prove painful for many.
Professor James Walston of The American University of Rome said: “A lot of people are going to suffer, particularly middle classes and lower middle classes and working classes, the poorer classes, which means that there will almost certainly be protests but I think it is very unlikely that they will be to the same extent as they have been and will be in Greece.”
Public sector workers wasted no time in showing their disapproval. Striking for two hours at the end of their shifts, they protested outside the Treasury.
“I am here for so many reasons,” said one of the demonstrators, Anna Venturi. “I am really not happy with this government and how things are being organised. I feel like everyone is taking a piece of me. It makes me feel that Italy is a great country but you cannot live well here anymore.”
Battling one of the euro zone’s biggest debt mountains, Italy aims to balance the budget by 2014. It is a daunting prospect for Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti – and for the Italian people.