Fears heightened by falling stock markets earlier this week and pressure from the EU and Germany appear to have borne fruit: the Italian Senate must approve on September 7 the latest draft of the austerity plan intended to slash the public deficit and to take the pressure off the ECB. The parliamentarians should pass the draft later in the week. Redrafted more than once since it was announced, the plan includes proposals for a one-point increase in VAT (up to 21 percent) and a ‘solidarity’ tax on incomes over 300,000 euros a year, writes the Corriere della Sera. "Where is the halving of the numbers of Parliamentarians?" asks columnist Dario Di Vico, who likens the plan to the tapestry woven by Penelope in Homer’s Odyssey. What is needed now, he adds, is that the government “put the final stitch in it".

The plan has already provoked responses from unions: on September 6 nearly a million people, called out by CGIL, the largest union, marched in several Italian cities to protest the announced cuts.