ROME (AP) -- Italian Premier Mario Monti is facing a vote of confidence in the Senate that would signal parliamentary approval of the government's (euro) 30 billion ($39 billion) package of tax and pension changes.
The austerity package is intended to save the country from financial disaster and follows rising concerns in the markets that Italy will find it difficult to pay off its massive debts, which stand at around (euro) 1.9 trillion ($2.5 trillion).
Monti says the austerity package "is of extreme urgency and will allow Italy to face the European crisis with its head held high."
Monti's government of non-political technocrats is expected to win the vote later Thursday. The package passed the lower house of parliament last week.