10/05/2011 07:34 EDT | Updated 12/05/2011 05:12 EST

Italy assures its commitment to cutting budget deficit after rating agency downgrade

ROME - The Italian government says the decision by Moody's to downgrade Italy's government bond rating three notches was expected and insists it is "fully committed" to cutting the budget deficit.

Moody's Investors Service on Tuesday downgraded the bond ratings to "A2" with a negative outlook from "Aa2," citing high debt, a weak global economy and political uncertainties.

A brief statement by Premier Silvio Berlusconi's office said the government's actions to balance the budget have been "positively received and approved by the European Commission."

The Italian parliament has approved austerity measures to cut more than €54 billion ($70 million) off of Italy's deficit over three years, although some experts question whether Berlusconi's government has the political bill to see measures through.