Former Italian prime minister Romano Prodi
Mr Prodi, who had two spells in power, condemned the lack of leadership and strategy in Brussels and admitted the Europe he once dreamed of was dead.
His comments came in an interview with Italy’s Quotidiano newspaper in the same week Theresa May laid out her plans for a hard Brexit which would sever all existing ties with the EU including the single market and customs union.
The 77-year-old said: “The EU has no strategies and there is no leader to follow.
Romani Prodi s dismayed by the state of the EU
The Europe I dreamed of is dead. Now we can only do one thing: pray
"The Europe I dreamed of is dead. But I hope the crisis will wake us up. Now we can only do one thing: pray.”
Mr Prodi said did not have great hopes about the future of the European Union which he said was increasingly divided by national and political interests.
And he said Brexit had accelerated the process of detachment from Brussels.
Romano Prodi and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker
He told Quotidiano: “I was disappointed by Brexit but not surprised. The new thing is the American encouragement to Brexit.
Get Quotes on Home Insurance
“It is an unprecedented and inappropriate interference in my opinion. From a political point of view the fact that the future US President supports Brexit says a lot.”
On the future of the EU, Mr Prodi called for "a single strategy".
The European Parliament building in Strasbourg
What countries are in the EU?
Wed, September 14, 2016
In the wake of Brexit, we look at the 28 member states that are in the European Union.
1 of 29
Countries that are in the European Union
He said: ”The real problem is that, once again, there will not be a common policy.
“We would need a real leader who would put himself in other people’s shoes.
"Whoever leads a political coalition and a group of countries must consider the interests of all the members. I am talking about Angela Merkel."