Sunday

25th Feb 2018

Europe still has 'sleeping war demons'

Former Eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker has warned of "sleeping war demons" in Europe and compared the current situation to the year before the outbreak of the first world war, when everybody took peace for granted.

"For my generation the common currency always meant politics of peace. Today I am to some extent saddened to see that too many in Europe are again lost in petty national thought processes," the Luxembourg Prime Minister said in an interview with Der Spiegel published on Monday (11 March).

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

He criticised German politicians who attacked Greece when the crisis started and "left deep wounds" in the southern country.

"I was equally shocked by the banners in Athens protests depicting Chancellor Merkel in a Nazi uniform. Suddenly these resentments reappeared, that we had thought were long gone. The Italian election campaign was also excessively hostile against Germany and therefore anti-European."

"Those who think that the question of war can never be raised in Europe any more may be massively wrong. The demons are not gone, they are only sleeping, as the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo have shown. I am astounded to what extent the European situation today is similar to 100 years ago," Juncker said, in reference to 1913, the year before the first world war broke out.

"There are striking parallels to 1913 in respect to carelessness. Many in Europe back then thought a war could never happen again. The big powers on the continent were economically so closely intertwined that there was a widespread belief they could simply not afford a military conflict. Especially in northern and western Europe there was a deep complacency stemming from the idea that peace was forever granted."

But still Juncker insisted that governments need to stick with unpopular austerity measure that are driving people to the streets in protest.

"You cannot adopt wrong policies just because you're afraid of not being re-elected. Those in government must take responsibility for their country and for Europe as a whole."

No plans for Van Rompuy's job

Already 18 years in office, the longest-serving prime minister of an EU country said he plans to run again in Luxembourg's general elections next year.

"I still want to achieve some things for my country. Experience is not a disadvantage, especially for the prime minister of a small country in a European environment that has become more difficult," Juncker said.

He strongly rejected the idea that he may succeed EU council chief Herman Van Rompuy next year when his mandate ends. "Why would I want to become something that I could have in 2009? This is, frankly, too stupid," Juncker said. He recalled that in 2009 he had a large majority for the job, but that "some" didn't want him back then - in reference to former French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

"You can get it black on white here: I exclude the possibility to become the successor of Herman Van Rompuy."

Merkel wants 'permanent' supervision of Greece, warns of war

Peace should not be taken for granted if the euro fails, German chancellor Merkel told MPs Wednesday ahead of the eurozone summit. Greeks deserve respect for their sacrifice, she said, but their government has to be put under "permanent" supervision.

Poland shows no sign of concessions to Commission

While the dialogue between Warsaw and the Commission has improved since new prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki entered office, there is no sign of compromise over rule of law concerns - as the clock ticks towards a March deadline.

Corruption report: Hungary gets worse, Italy makes progress

Italians, Czechs and Latvians perceive less corruption than a few years ago in Transparency International's annual ranking. The Berlin-based NGO said Finland was a 'worrying case', whilst Bulgaria - which holds the EU presidency - is EU's most corrupt.

News in Brief

  1. EU calls for immediate ceasefire in Syria
  2. UK's post-Brexit vision is 'pure illusion', Tusk says
  3. EU leaders express solidarity with Cyprus in Turkey drill row
  4. EU to double funding for Sahel forces
  5. EU parliament president: 'The immigration problem is Africa'
  6. May to unveil EU departure strategy next week
  7. Pregnant workers may be dismissed, EU court rules
  8. Romanian minister demands anti-corruption prosecutor fired

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ILGA EuropeAnkara Ban on LGBTI Events Continues as Turkish Courts Reject NGO Appeals
  2. Aid & Trade LondonJoin Thousands of Stakeholders of the Global Aid Industry at Aid & Trade London
  3. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.European Free Alliance Joins MHRMI to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism Year to Promote Business and Mutual Ties
  5. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  6. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  8. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  9. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  11. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  12. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name

Latest News

  1. EU agrees budget to focus on defence, security and migration
  2. EU leaders nix transnational lists, cool on 'Spitzenkandidat'
  3. Regions chief: calls for smaller EU budget are 'impossible'
  4. Election fever picks up This WEEK
  5. EU-Morocco fishing deal casts doubt on EU future foreign policy
  6. EU leaders put 'Spitzenkandidat' on summit menu
  7. European far-right political party risks collapse
  8. The key budget issues on EU leaders' table