Brussels (CNN)Europe is deeply engaged in a continent-wide battle over its future. Euroskeptic populists are trying to undermine the European Union from within, while those speaking up for a closer bloc, like former Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt, are doing so louder than ever.
Europe will 'die from inside' if far-right populists triumph, top EU figure says
"It's not a question of more or less Europe. It's a question of different," Verhofstadt says speaking to CNN in his spacious Brussels office. "We need a different union because this union will not survive the 21st Century."
On paper, the 66-year-old is not the sort of person you would expect to hear using such fatalistic language about the European Union's future.
In the post-Brexit era, Verhofstadt is a held up by Europhiles as a poster boy for the European project.
His style of politics divides opinion. The British Sun newspaper recently described him in an editorial as a "curtain-haired slimeball" and the "most repugnant figure in Brussels." However, when he recently addressed a group of anti-Brexit protestors in London, he was cheered for saying that in the world of tomorrow, European countries needed to "work together".