ROME: The only way to tackle the threat of the European Union being weakened by a possible British exit of the bloc in a June 23 referendum is to focus on integration, Italian economy minister Pier Carlo Padoan told a German newspaper.

"The first line of defense against turbulence on the markets is the European Central Bank but in the face of a risk of the EU being weakened such as by Brexit, the only thing that can help is continuing to integrate with determination such as in the common market and on dealing with the migration problem," he told Handelsblatt's Monday edition.