All the United States had to do to obtain its independence was "kill four Indians [Native Americans] but besides this, it was very easy," Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said during a conversation about the future of Europe with university students in Madrid.
The talk was also attended by his German counterpart, Heiko Maas.
Borrell was trying to compare the lack of political integration within the European Union with the unity of the Americans.
The foreign minister said Americans were united because "they all spoke the same language" and because of their "short history".
"They achieved independence with practically no history. All they did was kill four Indians but apart from that it was very easy," he said.
Borrell came under fire from fellow Spanish politicians and social media users for the comments, which critics dubbed politically incorrect and ignorant.
"'All they did was kill four Indians.' The foreign minister of my country, Josep Borrell, [said] referring to the systematic extermination of indigenous communities in the US. It's so embarrassing," Pablo Echenique, secretary of organisation for Spain's left-wing Podemos party tweeted.
The video was taken by Madrid's Complutense University and published on its Youtube account on Tuesday.