Prime Minister Mario Monti's new government is set to unveil a series of reform proposals aimed at calming a wave of market panic over Italy's debt, the speaker of parliament said on Saturday.
"We have to do things right, not just quickly," Gianfranco Fini said on Rai radio, amid intense pressure from investors and European leaders for Italy to act urgently after its borrowing costs surged to record highs.
"To do things right, we need a few days. I am convinced that the measures will be announced next week," Fini said. Italian commentators had expected an announcement of the planned measures at Friday's cabinet meeting.
The measures, which are expected to include long-delayed pension and labour law reforms to cut debt and boost growth while maintaining what Monti has called "social equity", would still have to go before parliament for approval.
Monti, a 68-year-old economics professor and former top European commissioner, was installed on November 16 after his predecessor Silvio Berlusconi was forced to resign by a parliamentary revolt and market pressure.
Italy meanwhile was forced to pay record-high rates in a 10-billion-euro ($13.2-billion) bond auction on Friday, and the yield on Italian 10-year government bonds briefly spiked above an alarmingly high 8.0 percent.
The EU's Economic Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn during a visit to Rome on Friday called for an "ambitious timetable" for the reforms and warned that high borrowing costs risked having repercussions on Italy's growth prospects.