Italy's parliament has ratified the European fiscal pact. Several more states must ratify the treaty if it is to come into effect.
The treaty was approved with 380 votes in favor, 59 against and 36 abstentions. Only the populist Northern League party voted against ratification, while the center-left Italy of Values abstained.
The pact, formally known as the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union, will take effect on January 1, 2013 if it is ratified by at least 12 European Union member states.
It imposes strict budget discipline on its signatories in a bid to prevent the high public deficits that triggered the debt troubles in the eurozone.
The Italian parliament also approved the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), the new eurozone rescue fund, which was meant to enter into force on July 1.
However, the launch of the fund, which is to replace the eurozone's current rescue fund, the European Financial Stability Facility, has been delayed pending a decision by Germany's Constitutional Court.
The court is to rule on an appeal against the German parliament's ratification of the ESM. Its verdict is to be handed down on September 12.
The ESM is expected to fund the upcoming Spanish bank bailout.
tj/sej (AFP, dpa)