Brexit has provided the EU with a great opportunity to achieve results without the hurdles put in the way by Britain, the former prime minister of Italy has told CNBC.
Enrico Letta, who served from 2013 to 2014, told CNBC Thursday that U.K. authorities had traditionally provided the EU with an "alibi" for inaction by opposing several major initiatives.
However, with the U.K. due to begin exit negotiations by the end of next month, the EU will be able to achieve important results that were previously blocked.
Letta's comments come as the EU faces potential turmoil from a rise of nationalist parties across Europe.
He said the success of the economic bloc was crucial but would depend on the "good will" of the remaining 27 member states.
Italy itself has been at the center of this instability, having held a referendum on reforms to parliamentary powers late last year.
The Italian public voted against the reforms, prompting then Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to step down. The country is due to hold a general election in 2018, however, the country faces continued uncertainty in the interim, said Letta.
"I think we have to be a little bit worried. I hope a more wise approach, unity, can take place," he said.
"If not, I start to think that the country (will see) big legislative instability. I think we have to push for more unity and less fragmentation today."