The sovereign debt crisis gripping the eurozone represents the failure of current political leadership, Alistair Darling has argued.
The former UK chancellor warned that the longer the delay in reaching an all-encompassing solution to the crisis the greater financial cost to Europeans would be.
"A leadership vacuum lies at the heart of the global crisis. Last week's meeting of the G20 leaders was an abject failure just at a time when the world needs strong leadership and a clear sense of direction," Mr Darling, writing in the Independent, said.
"Europe still fiddles as Rome threatens to burn and ignite a fire far beyond its borders."
Mr Darling continued to argue that a breakup of the euro would spell disaster not just for the eurozone but also for the UK.
He is advising European leaders to: reassess the current plan in Greece - which will reportedly see its debt at 120 per cent of its GDP by 2020 -; recapitalise banks in struggling eurozone economies; and allow the European Central Bank to buy bonds from distressed countries.