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“This is the decree that will save Italy”: La Repubblica reports the words with which Prime Minister Mario Monti presented his austerity plan on December 4, meant to restore balanced budgets and market confidence in Italian debt securities.

The plan, which must be approved by Parliament on December 5, is a 30 billion euro package that includes 20 billion in austerity measures and ten billion in stimulus boosts. The main measures include bringing back the property tax on first homes, increasing VAT to 23 percent and raising the retirement age to 66 years, as well as cutting public spending.

For the Rome daily, the budget plan is -

... a burden on taxpayers, yet essential if Italy is to avoid a payment default, which would trigger the demise of the euro and the end of Europe’s political ambitions.

Contrary to what he might have feared, Monti may have benefited from a “degree of political and national autonomy” vis-à-vis Brussels and Frankfurt, La Repubblica believes. The paper, however, criticises “the usual batch of taxes on taxpayers and the habitual scarcity of resources for local organisations.”

It’s a view shared by the Corriere della Sera, which contends that Monti has given Italians-

... a bitter medicine [...] The middle class will still feel it’s considered by the governments of the moment – technocratic or political, whatever – as a kind of ATM, as healthy carriers of cash that can be easily siphoned off.

Lastly, Il Sole 24 Ore comments:

We accept having to pay more (much more), but not to write a blank cheque [...] We are ready to do it, and we will be watching very vigilantly for any unfairness in the sacrifices demanded. In exchange, however, Monti’s plan must significantly encourage the bursting of the bubble of the rates on Italian securities.

It’s a demand the markets seem to have heard: the day after the plan was announced, the spread between German and Italian rates returned to under 400 points, while the Milan Stock Exchange recorded a jump of two percent, reports Corriere della Sera.