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Monti Says Public Sentiment Undermining Leaders’ Crisis Fighting

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said euro-skepticism among voters is undermining the progress leaders have made fighting the sovereign debt crisis.

“It’s paradoxical and sad,” Monti said today in Cernobbio, Italy, in a statement to reporters. “One can’t help note a growing and dangerous sentiment of antagonism in member states.”

The three-year crisis has taken its toll on voters from Greece to Paris and produced a surge in popularity for politicians who oppose European integration. In Italy, Monti’s parliamentary coalition has lost ground in opinion polls to euro-skeptic comedian Beppe Grillo, even as the prime minister’s policies helped lower the country’s borrowing costs.

“Just when we hoped to complete the integration both at a psychological level and in the public opinion -- so eventually at the political level -- we are rather witnessing the opposite trend,” said Monti as he stood next to European Union President Herman Van Rompuy. Monti cited, “a number of conflicts aiming at disintegration in almost all member states.”

Monti proposed holding a summit in Rome by next year to discuss the threat posed by public sentiment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Frye in Cernobbio at afrye@bloomberg.net; Lorenzo Totaro in Cernobbio at ltotaro@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net; Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net

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