Despite some opposition from other euro-zone countries, Italy has been in favour of an aid package to help Greece out of its debt crisis. Italian officials say they will pass a governmental decree to formalize its contribution, estimated at 5.5 billion euro, to the European rescue loan for Greece. Berlusconi said the European Union-bailout was necessary ‘to defend our common currency from speculation.'
Greece reached an agreement with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund on rescue loans to keep Athens from collapse, although it will impose harsh cuts. Estimated at 110 billion euro, it is the first bailout of one of the 16 countries using the euro and will require substantial tax increases and salary and pension cuts for civil servants.