Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti called on pro-European Union forces to close ranks against what he described as "a dangerous counter-phenomenon that aims at disintegration" yesterday.
The unelected premier, whose links to democracy seem tenuous at best, proposed a special European summit to confront growing anti-EU feelings in the face of the financial crisis.
"We are in a dangerous phase," Mr Monti said on the sidelines of the Ambrosetti Forum at Lake Como after meeting EU Council president Herman van Rompuy.
He claimed that a "divisive populism was present in nearly all eurozone countries, and that it aimed to divide nations at a moment when the impetus should be for greater integration to help safeguard the euro currency and restore health to the EU economy.
"It is paradoxical and sad that in a phase in which one was hoping to complete the integration instead there is forming a dangerous counter-phenomenon that aims at the disintegration," Mr Monti said.
The premier offered Rome as a venue for a summit confronting the tendency. Mr Van Rompuy said he supported the proposal.
EU competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia used the forum to add his voice to those arguing for greater integration among the bloc's members.
"This means more economic union," Joaquin Almunia claimed at the forum. "Economic union needs to be built based on a common political will so it means more political union also."
The conference heard several proposals for an EU-wide finance minister with the power to veto budgets.