Italy's prime minister this afternoon denied that his country would be the next to need a European bailout. Yet as Mario Monti acted to calm bond markets scared by the Austrian finance minister's gloomy predictions yesterday, an influential Italian business newspaper issued a stark plea on its front page – in German.
"Schnell Frau Merkel!" read the headline in Il Sole 24 Ore, urging Berlin to act quickly to save the eurozone.
Although Italy has a smaller budget deficit than Spain and lower levels of private sector debt, it is facing a deepening double-dip recession this year – and some analysts now fear it could be Italy, rather than Spain, that brings the eurozone down.
Meanwhile, Monti's technocrat government is instituting an austerity plan that is certain to drive voters – who go to the polls next March – against him. Polls in Italy suggest a centre-left party will be in charge by this time next year.
But long before then, unpopular austerity measures and the euro's troubles may all be long over.
Learn more: A squabbling cabinet, growing deficit and unpopular austerity measures: the Financial Times has a good explainer on why Italy is in deep trouble ($), and the Economist looks at the underlying flaws in Italy's economic structures – and warns of danger to come.