MEPs gathered in Strasbourg on Tuesday to discuss the future political direction of the Brussels head quartered club.
Guy Verhofstadt, who is leader of the Liberal ALDE group, headed up the motion on the need for future changes to the crumbling bloc.
But, as the former Belgium prime minister took the podium, some were left fuming when he cited a quote from Britain’s wartime leader.
Guy Verhofstadt quoted Sir Winston Churchill during a speech on Tuesday
It all started with a historical speech by Winston Churchill
Referring to the 60th anniversary of the treaty which established the European Economic Community – the Europhile spoke about Sir Winston’s attempts to take the UK into the EU’s predecessor after the Second World War.
“It all started with a historical speech by Winston Churchill at the University of Zurich in 1946,” he announced to fellow MEPs.
“A year later, in ’47 in Albert Hall in London, Churchill, the British bulldog, made it very clear what he wanted.
“He said, and I quote, ‘I present the idea of a united Europe in which all countries [including] Britain will play a decisive part as a member of the European family.”
The EU's Brexit negotiator was setting out how he'd like to see the bloc reformed
He continued to speak about the former British prime minister’s failed attempt to persuade MPs to vote in favour of joining the European Coal and Steel Community a few years later.
“More over it’s good to remember that Churchill, the prime minister at the time, wanted Britain to participate in the European Steele and Co committee.
Get Quotes on Home Insurance
“But he lost the vote in the British Parliament, with 309 against 296, a small difference I should say.”
Winston Churchill in pictures
Sun, May 10, 2015
Winston Churchill died in January 24, 1965
1 of 43
Sir Winston Churchill shows the peace sign while smoking a cigar in 1954
As the ardent European continued, he appeared to make a subtle dig at today’s Conservative Government for forging ahead with the UK’s historic Brexit plans.
“It’s good to remember that at that time Tories were openly pro-European.
“Now more than 60 years on, I think and we think, that the European Union needs a profound reform again.”
Mr Verhofstadt, who previously claimed Sir Winston would have “deeply regretted” June’s referendum result, has since come under fire for his remarks.
— Janice Atkinson (@Janice4Brexit) February 14, 2017
Independent MEP for South East England instantly took to social media to condemn the Belgium politician.
Janice Atkinson tweeted: “In debate 'Future of the EU'. @guyverhofstadt misrepresenting Churchill on EU. Still, they know there's no EU future”.
In his five-minute speech, Mr Verhofstadt laid out what he would like to change about the EU in order for it to survive.
Guy Verhofstadt previously claimed Sir Winston would have "deeply regretted" Brexit
Alluding to the challenges facing the bloc, including mass migration, he laid out three recommendations within his report.
It included “slimming down” the EU Commission, an end to “Europe a la carte” and a single seat for the European Parliament.
He also suggested a “green card” systems that would allow the nation’s Parliaments to put forward new EU policies, similar to the way MEPs can today.