A day after announcing fresh austerity measures, the Italian government has been forced to defend the move against widespread criticism.
A hold-up is how some sections of the Italian press have described the tough mix of tax increases and spending cuts to stem the country’s swollen debt.
But Italy’s Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti believes the steps would not be needed if Europe had Eurobonds.
“It is essential to have a greater degree of integration and consolidation of public finances in Europe,” he told reporters.
The government’s package is designed to balance the budget by 2013 by making cuts of 45 billion euros. Even the prime minister admitted it is going to be painful – an opinion that seems widely shared.
“We must do it in two years! It is one thing to do it in three, four, five years, but it is another thing to do it in two or three years. And even then, I don’t think that it would be enough,” said one man in Rome.
But others have applauded the measures which include cuts in the cost of government, most notably through a cull in the number of local politicians.