Positive growth figures from Slovakia confirm that the country "has enough steam" to be a growth engine for the European Union (EU), Italian senator and former prime minister Mario Monti said following a meeting with Slovak Finance Minister Peter Kazimir in Bratislava on Thursday. "I've been looking admiringly for some time at Slovakia's economy and its bold decision to join the eurozone in 2009," said Monti, who has served stints as a European commissioner for internal markets and competition. "Those in western Europe who still believe that the enlargement was too early are dead wrong because now countries like Slovakia contribute towards EU's growth," he added. Monti noted that his country -- thanks to strict budgetary discipline -- is currently the only country in southern Europe outside the eurozone's excessive deficit procedure. Addressing the upcoming European Parliament elections next week, Monti said he expected more MEPs to be populist and euro sceptic. "Nonetheless, this will force traditional parties to join forces in boosting Europe," he added. Monti visited Slovakia for the Globsec 2014 international security conference taking place from May 14 to 16.