Leader of the left-progressive group in the European Parliament Guy Verhofstadt has said that in order to compete with the rest of the world, the European Union must become an “empire.”

The leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe (ALDE) told CNN that proposals by European populist-patriots to reform the EU and devolve power from Brussels back to the nation-state would mean that the bloc “will die inside.”

“The world is developing into one not of nation states, but of empires. China is an empire. India is an empire. The US is an empire. We need to create a European Union that is capable of defending our interests,” Mr Verhofstadt stated during the interview, speaking to the leftist American news network in what was described as his “spacious” Brussels office.

Mr Verhofstadt, who is also the European Parliament’s Brexit Coordinator, is an avid supporter of greater federalisation of the European Union.

During a Euronews Raw Politics panel last week, the former prime minister of Belgium compared a proposed United States of Europe to the United States of America, saying: “The United States of Europe is a way to organise a common action on the European level by recognising, by guaranteeing the autonomy of the member states.”

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