Italian prime minister Mario Monti has spent the weekend trying to drum up support for a new package of measures designed to shore up public finances.
His cabinet is expected to approve the plan tomorrow. Sources say a property tax is likely to reinstalled, employment costs reduced, and people may have to work longer to get a full pension.
It is thought a mix of cuts and tax rises will total nearly 25 billion euros over two years.
When questioned, some people in Rome seemed to accept there was a need for austerity – up to a point.
“They say that growth must rise, but with all these taxes it can’t do so by much,” said one woman.
“We’ve affirmed our confidence in Monti to save Italy, but he shouldn’t make people suffer when they’re already paying too much,” said a man.
“I’m ready to make sacrifices – when I see evidence they’re doing likewise,” said another, as he gestured towards parliament.
Half the savings will be aimed at reducing the deficit and help balance the budget; the rest will go towards trying to revive the economy.
The measures are seen as a vital step towards calming the debt crisis in the euro zone’s third largest economy, and reassuring nervous financial markets.
On Sunday some nervous Italians were beginning to gather at the parliament’s gates, wondering what lay in store.