EUROPEAN MEPs found common ground this week as they tore apart Jean-Claude Juncker's last speech as European Commision leader, coming together to condemn his calls for "more Europe" in the face of growing dissent.
Chief Eurocrat Jean-Claude Juncker delivered his last State of the Union speech in Strasbourg on Wednesday before stepping down at the end of his mandate in 2019.
Mr Juncker urged member states to reject the temptation of nationalism to embrace a more European form of patriotism, a demand that appeared to unite MEPs from all across the European Union.
Brexiteer Dan Hannan accused the Commissioner of "prescribing more of the medicine that sickened the patient," attacking his plans to speed up integration among the remaining members.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk in the aftermath of the State of the Union speech, Mr Hannan said: "Juncker’s answer to everything is more Europe. Immigration crisis? Get rid of the borders - more Europe!
"Populist parties rising on the continent? More integration, more Europe! Brexit? Speed up our plans for a military and physical integration, more Europe! When’s he going to realise that’s prescribing more of the medicine that sickened the patient in the first place?"
Fellow Conservative MEP Ashley Fox appeared to be of a similar mind, advising Mr Juncker to accept that the heavy presence of European influence on national matters is fuelling the unhappiness of EU citizens.
"I think the lesson that the European Union has to learn is that the problem is not that there isn’t enough Europe, the problem is that there is already too much Europe. That is what causes European citizens to be discontented."
The Tory politician added: "The people in Britain voted to leave the EU because the EU intrudes too much into the nooks and crannies of national life, and if the EU follows Mr Juncker’s prescription, if there is more Europe, a European defence identity, more qualifying majority votes on foreign policy, we will see more people getting upset at the EU, and that is not the way I want to see it."
Nigel Farage, a vocal opponent of Mr Juncker's plans for more integration and a key architect of the Brexit referendum, branded as "bizarre" the Eurocrat's calls for more "patriotism" as he warned that further consolidation within Europe could threaten the sovereignty of member states.
Mr Farage told Express.co.uk: "If you’re patriotic to your nation-state that’s bad, that’s nationalism, that’s evil, that’s xenophobic, but if you’re patriotic towards the European flag, that’s good and that’s virtuous. I mean it’s absolutely bizarre.
"What they want is they want all of us in Europe to sign up to a new form of identity. They want us to say we’re European first, and we’re German second or French second. All the evidence is that this is not what people want."
He added: "They actually want to live in nation states, they will make decisions at nation-state level and whilst they want to co-operate with their European neighbours, they don’t want flags, anthems and presidents Junkers, and really, in a sense, it gets right to the middle of what this whole European debate is about."
The seasoned Brexiteer added: “From the British perspective is quite positive. From the EU perspective, well they’re away with the fairies.