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You're reading: Monti calls for EU summit to confront populism

MILAN — Premier Mario Monti on Saturday proposed an extraordinary European summit to confront growing populism in the face of the continent's financial crisis.

“We are in a dangerous phase,” Monti said on the sidelines
of the Ambrosetti Forum on Lake Como after meeting with EU Council
President Herman van Rompuy. He said a divisive populism is present in
nearly all eurozone countries, and that it aims to divide nations at a
moment when the impetus is for greater integration to help safeguard the
euro currency and restore health to the EU’s 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,” Monti said, according to the LaPresse
news agency.

The premier offered Rome as a venue for a summit confronting the tendency. Van Rompuy said he supported the proposal.

Finance Minister Vittorio Grilli said Italy has no plans to apply for
the European Central Bank’s bond purchase program, saying Italy “at this
moment absolutely does not need” to request help.

The ECB has
pledged to buy unlimited amounts of bonds to help bring down borrowing
costs in countries struggling to keep up with high debts. But that plan
comes with the caveat that nations who want to apply for the program
must first ask for existing bailout funds and submit their economic
policies to international scrutiny.

After the plan was announced
on Thursday, Monti said his country “could need” the help but that the
government needed to closely examine the details.

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