Italy has New Austerity Program

By: AP
By: AP

ROME (AP) -- Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi says his government's new austerity package has won praise by European leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and by the European Central Bank.

Berlusconi said he spoke with Merkel and ECB President
Jean-Claude Trichet on Saturday and that he will speak with other
leaders later in the day.

He told the ANSA news agency that he "received great
appreciation" especially since "it was not just the Italian
position to be in question -- the euro was in question, therefore
Europe itself."

The government Friday approved the euro45.5 billion ($64.8 billion)
in emergency measures over two years to balance the budget by 2013 in response to demands by the ECB.

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