Guy Verhofstadt, who is one of seven candidates to replace Martin Schulz as President of the European Parliament, rejected calls for ‘less Europe’.
He said instead of scaling back the amount of power the European Parliament has, the next president should push for more power and financial control.
While Mr Schultz was criticised for his meddling reign as president, his would-be successor argued to not just replicate his leadership style but to improve upon it.
Mr Verhofstadt said at a Politico debate this evening: “We have to build on the legacy of Martin Schulz. We need a president of the Parliament who will continue the pro-European forces in the Parliament and to create a more integrated union.
“The [European] Council will not help us in that, it is the Parliament who will help us regain the trust of the citizens. Let’s further have a political president, a pro-European to build up what is needed in Europe.”
He made a particular point of highlighting his desire to increase the Parliament’s financial muscle.
Mr Verhofstadt said: “We need a Parliament with real control over the European Commission. We need full budgetary powers, we are the only Parliament in the world that has nothing to say on income!
“This president needs to push forward these changes. There will be a need for a power shift from the council, who is mainly defending its own national interest, to the Parliament, who is defending European interest.”