Monti warns populism could 'derail' EU

Italy faces political deadlock after no clear winner in vote

Monti warns populism could 'derail' EU

Brussels, February 28 - Outgoing Italian Premier Mario Monti warned on Thursday that there is a danger political populism could derail the European Union. Monti travelled to Brussels Thursday to meet European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and other officials after Italy's general election failed to produce a clear winner, prompting fears political deadlock in Rome could reignite the eurozone crisis. Pier Luigi Bersani's centre-left alliance came first but it failed to win a working majority in the Senate because of the votes pulled by three-time premier Silvio Berlusconi's centre right and the anti-establishment 5 Star Movement of comedian Beppe Grillo. Both Berlusconi and Grillo were accused of using populist rhetoric in the election campaign. Monti, whose reform ticket backed by centrist parties did less well than expected in the election, said EU policies should be revised to help curtail populism. "There has to be a strategy... if we don't want to allow the more simplistic forces, some would say populist ones but I don't want to express a judgement, to try to derail European policies," said the former European commissioner. Monti took the helm of an emergency administration of unelected technocrats after Berlusconi was forced to resign as premier in November 2011 when Italy's debt crisis was threatening to spiral out of control.

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