Mario Monti wants Italy to make 'sacrifices'


Italy's new premier has urged MPs to rapidly agree his new taxes, pension reforms and growth measures, saying the survival of the euro depends on the country making "strong sacrifices".

Mario Monti, then economist whose government came into office last month to save Italy from financial disaster, told parliament "there are no alternatives" to the measures.

"The eyes of Europe and the world are concentrated on Italy and this hall," Mr Monti said.

"The future of the euro also depends on the choices Italy will make," he added.

Mr Monti said parliament must do what is necessary to avoid financial disaster. He said the "strong sacrifices" would be "limited in time, distributed fairly and essential to navigate this difficult moment for society."

He has been under extreme pressure to come up with speedy and credible measures to persuade markets to stop betting against the common currency. Italian borrowing costs have spiked in the last few months, which could spell disaster if Italy is unable to keep up payments to service its enormous debt.

Unlike Greece, Portugal and Ireland, EU nations that got bailouts after their borrowing rates skyrocketed over 7%, Italy is the eurozone's third-largest economy and is considered too big to be rescued. An Italian default would be disastrous for the eurozone and could send both Europe and the United States into recession.

As Mr Monti laid out the sacrifices, including a return of a home property tax, a less generous pension system and a higher sales tax, the reaction was cool, some MPs heckled him.