Jean-Claude Juncker, Luxembourg Prime Minister, Warns European War 'Demons' May Return

The prime minister of Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Juncker, has warned Europe risks descending into a conflict similar to the First World War as a result of the eurozone crisis.

In an interview with Der Spiegel, Juncker, who used to head the Euro Group of eurozone ministers, said the single currency was about "forging peace" but too many EU members states were "returning to a regional and national mindset".

"The way some German politicians have lashed out at Greece when the country fell into the crisis has left deep wounds there," he said.

"I was just as shocked by the banners of protesters in Athens that showed the German chancellor in a Nazi uniform.

"Sentiments suddenly surfaced that we thought had been finally relegated to the past. The Italian election was also excessively anti-German and thus un-European."

Junker said that "anyone who believes that the eternal issue of war and peace in Europe has been permanently laid to rest could be making a monumental error".

He added: "The demons haven't been banished; they are merely sleeping, as the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo have shown us. I am chilled by the realization of how similar circumstances in Europe in 2013 are to those of 100 years ago."

And he said he saw "obvious parallels with regard to people's complacency" about the situation the continent found itself in.

"In 1913, many people believed that they would never again be a war in Europe. The great powers of the Continent were economically so strongly intermeshed that there was the widespread opinion that they could simply no longer afford to engage in military conflicts," he said.

Earlier this month Lib Dem peer Lord Tyler warned British political parties to avoid the nationalism that led to the outbreak of war 100 years ago.

"I will find it difficult to mark the centenary of the war's outbreak with anything other than a resolve that we should do all we can to reconcile the peoples of Europe in the 21st century, avoiding new foreigner scapegoats for our economic troubles, and perhaps also reminding ourselves of the 1914 warmongering populism of the British press, which seems familiar," he said.

Popular in the Community