The Italian Senate passed the amended austerity package from Premier Silvio Berlusconi that aims to cut the deficit by 54 billion euros over three years.
The confidence vote for the measures passed last night with 165-141 with three abstentions. The passage of the package is now easier with the measures now going to the lower Chamber of Deputies as soon as this week with expectations it will pass where Berlusconi enjoys the majority.
Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti's office confirmed the changes to the package which Italian media reporting the total of 4 billion euros of new taxes and spending cuts. The original package that was unveiled August 12 totaled 45.5 billion euros but the pressure from the market, the ECB and the neighboring euro nations forced the government to step up the efforts to ease the woes and avoid a Greek-style crisis.