ROME Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti called on Saturday for a meeting of European Union heads of government to discuss the growing signs of disunity and populism in the region, fuelled by the euro zone's debt crisis.
"There are many manifestations of populism that are aimed at disunity in nearly all the member states," Monti said in a joint news conference with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy at an economic conference in northern Italy.
Monti, who has repeatedly warned of the re-emergence of national prejudices and stereotypes, said he had proposed that the meeting be held in the seat of Rome's city government, where one of the EU's founding treaties was signed in 1957.
Van Rompuy said he was in favor of a meeting to foster European integration and had originally intended that it be held by the end of 2014, but he now believed it would be "a good idea to have it much earlier."
(Reporting by Lisa Jucca, writing by Gavin Jones)