TIME magazine calls him "the most important man" in Europe: Italy's Prime Minister Mario Monti has been trying to reform Italy and reassure the markets, all while keeping the Germans happy, too.
What does the former European commissioner (dubbed "Super Mario" for his work in international finance) expect out of the G8 summit, what does he think of the competing views about the economy in Europe and what kind of Europe will emerge from the crisis?
CNN's Fareed Zakaria sat down with him for an exclusive interview in Washington on Friday. Check out some excerpts above and below, and watch the full interview on "Fareed Zakaria GPS" on Sunday, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.
ZAKARIA: Can you say confidently that what will come out of this crisis will be a deeper and more integrated Europe and not a Europe that breaks up in some way?
MONTI: I am confident and I would even say that the Greek crisis, if we take it in the first manifestations in early 2010, has concerned very vividly that Europe becomes adult and stronger through crisis because we may be able or unable to ultimately solve the specific crisis in Greece, but in the process we have achieved a much higher degree of ex ante coordination of national fiscal policies. We have put in place firewalls to reduce contagion effects. ... The ECB in its autonomy has been able to find new techniques of intervention. So clearly, the governance of the EU has been improved by the Greek crisis.
On the Greek crisis:
On conflicting views of dealing with economic crisis:
ZAKARIA: Do you believe that at this G8 summit you're going to see a clash between a German view that says fiscal discipline above all, and a view of some others that you've got to open up demand, stimulate these economies in some way or the other?
MONTI: I think these two positions need to be bridged, and that's why we link back to the notion of which demand - if it is demand to remove bottlenecks in the supply of goods and services, so broadly investment demand - I think we should regard it more positively than the most conservative European authorities do. On the other hand, if it is an across-the-board crusade for more demand, then I believe that the German reluctance to that is not entirely unfounded.
And for the U.S., it's easier to be very relaxed on even huge expansions of demand, however financed - but it's difficult to forget - one should never forget - seeing from Washington that not each part of the world is a reserve currency country.