Friday, October 12, 2012

Nobel Peace Prize: The European Union

Making Peace

The European Union has won the Nobel Peace Prize for its historic role in in uniting the continent over the last six decades, and as the Nobel Committee put it "to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe." No doubt, the EU can use some cheering up, and the award is seen as a morale boost at a time when the bloc struggles to resolve its economic crisis. Reuters writes:
The award served that the bloc had largely brought peace to a continent which tore itself apart in two world wars in which tens of millions died.The EU has transformed most of Europe "from a continent of wars to a continent of peace," Nobel Committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said in announcing the award in Oslo.
"The EU is currently undergoing grave economic difficulties and considerable social unrest. The Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to focus on what it sees as the EU's most important result: the successful struggle for peace and reconciliation and for democracy and human rights," he said.
He praised the EU for rebuilding Europe after World War Two and for its role in spreading stability after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.But the debt crisis afflicting the single currency zone has brought economic instability to several member states, and rioting has erupted on the streets of Athens and Madrid as austerity measures have bitten hard.
The Nobel Committee, in giving the award to the EU, has likely bypassed more worthy candidates, including Russia's Ekho Moskvy radio, a frequent critic of the KremlinAs has been the case with the Peace Prize over the years, this year's winner is symbolic if not political, and speaks more about a desire than a reality—in this case preserving the importance of the EU, of which Norway is not a member state.

The same Reuters article notes: "Norway, the home of the peace prize, has voted 'no' twice to joining the EU, in 1972 and 1994. The country has prospered outside the EU, partly thanks to huge oil and gas resources. The five-member committee is appointed by parliament, where parties are deeply split over EU membership. Jagland has long favored EU membership."

You can read the rest of the article at [Reuters]

2 comments:

  1. Perry,
    If internal economic stability of member countries were just one of the criteria to be considered, then granting the Prize to the EU is, as you rightly say, 'more about a desire than a reality'.
    Can peace really exist between member states when some play host to widespread civil unrest over serious political / economic issues (Greece, Spain) and when others serve up a sinister import/home-brew of religious bigotry and fanaticism (Germany, France) that ever slowly rises to the shallow surface of popular media coverage?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mark:

      Many agree with your points; the Peace Prize has political implications and this year's award is no exception. It's not that I think the EU might not (ever) deserve the award, it's that I think there are now better, more deserving candidates.

      Delete

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