BRUSSELS (AP) — European Parliament leaders are calling for British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt to apologize for comparing the European Union to the Soviet Union.

Stinging criticism from several of the major parties in the legislature followed Hunt’s weekend remark that the EU should not try to prevent a smooth departure by Britain from the bloc because “it was the Soviet Union that stopped people leaving.”

Manfred Weber, the leader of the EPP Christian Democrat group, the biggest in the legislature, said that “Mr Hunt you should apologize for what you said.”

Guy Verhofstadt, the leader of the ALDE liberals told the legislators that “he is insulting not us, but millions of ordinary citizens who have lived under Soviet rule for such a long time.”