While Italy has a fairly low budget deficit, structural issues such as low productivity have resulted in an economic crisis. Its public debt, at 118 percent of GDP, is one of the highest in Europe.
Italy has raised women's retirement age to match that of men. Many women says it's unfair in a culture where women who work also are responsible for housework and the care of family members.
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (r.) and his foreign minister, Franco Frattini, spoke to the media Wednesday at an EU environmental conference in Brussels.
But critics say the bill, set to be approved Tuesday, is emblematic of what's wrong with Italy's whole economy – one of the least productive among industrialized nations.