MUNICH  - Australia’s foreign minister launched a fierce broadside at Europe Saturday, saying the financial crisis has caused it to turn in on itself and warning it risked an “early grave” amid Asia’s rise.

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, Kevin Rudd warned that Europe had become sidelined from the debate over the growing economic and political influence of China and Asia and urged Europeans to re-engage.

“Here in Europe, this continent has largely been missing in this debate, this should no longer be the case,” Rudd said, adding that the region still had “a great deal to offer” in terms of diplomacy.

“The danger that I see is Europe progressively becoming so introspective and so preoccupied with its internal problems on the economy and on the eurozone in particular that Europe runs the risk of talking itself into an early economic and therefore globally political grave,” he said.

“We don’t want that. We actually think Europe has fundamental strengths to deliver to the rest of the world but we are not seeing a whole lot of that right now,” added the minister.

The European Union’s internal market commissioner, Michel Barnier, hit back, saying that Europe would “emerge stronger and better organised from this crisis.”

Rudd was speaking on a panel on “America, Europe and the rise of Asia” at the annual gathering of leaders, ministers and top brass that wraps up on Sunday.