Italian Deputy Premier and League leader Matteo Salvini greets supporters during a rally in Mezzocorona, northern Italy, Friday, Oct. 19, 2018. (Daniel Mosna/ANSA via AP)

Italy brushes off downgrade as it plans EU budget response

October 20, 2018 - 3:24 am

ROME (AP) — Italy's deputy premier is brushing off a ratings downgrade and vowing to forge ahead with the government's rule-busting budget as Italy prepares to respond to European Union concerns about its high deficit targets.

International credit rating agency Moody's late Friday downgraded Italy's ratings to Baa3, with a stable outlook, citing the "material weakening in Italy's fiscal strength" stemming from the revised budget deficits.

The European Commission has already warned Italy that its higher-than-expected targets represent an unprecedented deviation from EU budget rules.

Deputy Premier Matteo Salvini said Saturday that "the government will go ahead despite ratings agencies, European commissioners and some internal misunderstanding."

The populist 5-Star-League government planned a Cabinet meeting to discuss the budget amid claims by the 5-Star leader that unauthorized changes were made to a draft.

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