Conservative EU top job hopeful Jan Zahradil said Donald Trump's approach to Iran is more successful than the bloc's current policy of "appeasement."
The Czech MEP, who is president of the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe (ACRE), said he would pursue the U.S. president's stricter approach to Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
"I believe that we should be tougher," Zahradil told Euronews' Raw Questions. "If I was in charge ... I would advise the Commission to be tougher on Iran than the current Commission. Now it seems that Iran doesn't take us seriously."
The heavy metal music fan, who describes himself as a "Eurorealist" rather than a "Eurosceptic," is among those vying to land the EU's top job: president of the European Commission.
"A Eurosceptic is someone who completely rejects the entire European Union, completely rejects the entire idea of European integration, who wants to dissolve the EU," Zahradil explained. "A Eurorealist is someone who wants to improve it, change it, scale it back."
He added: "Sometimes states, national governments, national parliaments are better able to find solutions. I don't believe EU as a state or quasi-state entity, I believe in the EU as a free conglomerate of cooperating states."
'Not a nationalist'
He described Hungarian far-right leader Viktor Orban as smart but denied he was nationalist, insisting: "I'm not a nationalist, I'm a patriot." He also ruled out any post-election parliamentary deal with Le Pen.
Europe should embrace the diversity of economies and social viewpoints rather than trying to standardise them with measures such as a pan-European minimum salary, Zahradil said.
"I believe we should be sensitive when it comes to moral and social issues because we are not the same," he said. "Some societies are more liberal, some are more conservative and we should not just try to put them in one line."
Former Belgian prime minister Guy Verhoftstadt on Monday put forward his vision of a United States of Europe but insisted he did not want to create a European superstate. He described himself as a “Eurosceptic” who seeks smaller government, instead of the current Commission.