Mr Juncker, the European Commission president, relived a quote from an influential leader of one of the original movements for the creation of a unified European state – Richard Nikolaus Eijiro, Count of Coudenhove-Kalergi. Speaking at Prosper Haniel, Germany’s last coal mine, Mr Juncker said if Europeans had learned from the ideals of the International Paneuropean Union, World War 2 may have been avoided. Mr Juncker said: “Count of Coudenhove-Kalergi said in an impressive essay, so impressive that hardly anyone knows him anymore, he said, ‘We in Europe, if we want to avoid war between the European nations, we have to take coal and steel from the national hands and combine them on the European level.’
“He was the one who talked about a European union of coal and steel for the first time.
“If only we had listened to him then we would have been spared a lot on this continent!”
The Paneuropean Union was formed in 1923 with the vision of a single European state
But then was banned by Adolf Hitler, shortly after the Nazi leader became leader of Germany, but reformed shortly after the end of World War 2.
The movement was led by its founder Count of Coudenhove-Kalergi until his death in 1972.
Mr Juncker, himself, was born just nine years after the end of World War 2, in 1954, and allows the conflict to influence his views today.
The former Luxembourg prime minister’s father Joseph was forced to fight for the Nazis in the 1940 after they invaded his country.
After becoming the European People’s Party candidate for the European Commission president in 2014, Mr Juncker said it was time to “talk about the real Europe again, the Europe that was crafted and imagined by those who, after the second world war, came back from concentration camps and battlefields, and created this political programme”.
In 2017, Mr Juncker sparked fury by thanking Britain for its efforts during World War 2 but would have to fork out for a hefty Brexit bill and suggested the bloc’s single currency, the euro, has averted another conflict.
Without the euro, he claimed “we would have tremendous conflict and consequences, including not just military war but also economic difficulties.
“We’d be much, much more impoverished too without our single market.”
He added: “I am not hating the British. The Europeans have to be grateful for so many things Britain has brought to Europe, during the war, before the war, after war, everywhere and every time, but now they have to pay.”
Mr Juncker has also pushed for a larger EU membership in order to prevent further wars across the Continent.
Speaking to the Austrian parliament in October, the eurocrat warned of a possible new war in the Balkans if Bosnia, Albania, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Kosovo do not feel like the EU is serious about offering them future membership.
He said: “If, in Europe’s highly complicated landscape, the impress arises that we’re not serious about offering the prospect of EU membership to the western Balkans, then we might see later – and probably even sooner – what we saw in the Balkans in the 1990s.”