A top EU official raised eyebrows Thursday with a tweet warning of a "horror scenario" if Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen, Boris Johnson and Beppe Grillo were to be in power when the G7 meets for its next summit in 2017.
"G7 2017 with Trump, Le Pen, Boris Johnson, Beppe Grillo? A horror scenario that shows well why it is worth fighting populism," Martin Selmayr, the head of cabinet for European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, wrote on Twitter from Japan, where G7 leaders are currently meeting.
Trump is the presumptive Republican presidential candidate in this year's US elections, while the far-right Le Pen will run for president in France next year.
Johnson, London's former Conservative mayor, is spearheading the campaign to have Britain leave the European Union and is expected to be a contender for prime minister in the coming years.
Grillo is an Italian stand-up comedian who started the eurosceptic and anti-establishment Five Star Movement. The party is closing in on the ruling Democrats in the polls, but if it won power, a Grillo ally - rather than the comedian - would be expected to become premier.
Journalists peppered a spokesman for the commission, the EU's executive, with questions in Brussels on Thursday about why Johnson and Grillo would be in the same category as Le Pen, whose National Front party has had a racist reputation.
They also asked whether the tweet was meddling in the US elections and the campaign in Britain on whether to leave or remain in the EU. Voters will decide the matter on June 23.
"The commission ... has been a member of the G7 since its inception and so we are very interested in the stability and prosperity of the G7 and promoting common G7 values and tackling ... global challenges together," spokesman Alexander Winterstein replied.
This is why "concepts of focusing narrowly on national solutions do not seem to be the best way forward," he said.
"I don't see any insults, nor do I see any interference into any campaign," he added.