The EU Commission president on Wednesday told a Brussels press conference that he was “strictly against a European superstate” and accused Mr Johnson of talking “total nonsense” for suggesting Europe was creating an “over-arching” state.
But just five months ago, Jean-Claude Juncker unveiled his vision for a bigger, more powerful Union in a speech that was branded a blueprint for a United States of Europe.
During his State of the Union address in September last year, just a day after MPs backed the EU Brexit Withdrawal Bill, the Brussels boss called for greater EU integration, including an EU president combining the role with that of the head of the European Council, as well as a eurozone finance minister, a Brussels intelligence agency, European anti-terrorism prosecutor and an agency to enforce labour standards.
The speech triggered criticism, with many accusing Mr Juncker of proposing “the blueprint for a United States of Europe”.
Syed Kamall, co-leader of the Conservative Party’s group in Strasbourg, said: “Juncker’s plan is to, step by step, move more power away from member states, and towards Brussels.”
Dutch prime minister at the time, Mark Rutte, said: “Juncker is a romantic. I’m more someone who says ‘vision’? Then you have to go to the ophthalmologist.”
Mr Juncker on Wednesday erupted into fury and launched a stinging attack on Foreign Secretary Mr Johnson saying the suggestion the European Union is plotting to create a European superstate is “total nonsense”.
Mr Johnson delivered his Brexit speech in London in a bid to unite Remainers and Brexiteers where he said British politicians always found the EU’s policies to create an over-arching European state as difficult to accept.
He told an audience at Policy Exchange: “Ever more powers and competencies have been handed to EU institutions.”
But Mr Juncker hit back at the claims by accusing some in the British political establishment of “pretending that I am a stupid stubborn federalist”.
He insisted he was “strictly against a European superstate”, telling a press conference in Brussels: “Some in the British political society are against the truth, pretending that I am a stupid, stubborn federalist, that I am in favour of a European superstate.
“I am strictly against a European superstate. We are not the United States of America, we are the European Union, which is a rich body because we have these 27, or 28, nations.”