Guy Verhofstadt, one of the highest-profile candidates for the EU’s top job, said he is a Eurosceptic who wants to reform the way the bloc is run.
The EU Brexit Co-ordinator told Euronews' Raw Questions programme that he wants to shrink the European Commission and replace it with a “smaller government” — but he also wants to take more decisions at a federal level and defended his vision of a United States of Europe.
“I am perhaps the first Eurosceptic and even more Eurosceptic than nationalists and populists when it concerns the working of the European Union,” Verhofstadt said. “But I believe the solutions for these problems is not by going back into history and hiding behind the borders of the nation-state but to develop a vision for a new Europe in the new era of empires in which we live.”
He said he understood that the EU needs reforms in order to survive.
"I am not at ease with the direction of the European Union either. That's why I am saying I'm the first Eurosceptic. I think this EU as it works today — or as it doesn't work today — will not even survive the 21st century. But the solution for the challenges we are facing today is not to go back to nationalist and populists rhetoric of the 20th century.”