Sarcasm meets Praise
The Nobel Peace Prize for the EU
The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2012 to the European Union (EU). “The union and its forerunners have for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe”, stated the Committee in its announcement. Does everybody agree to that?
“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. The stabilizing part played by the EU has helped to transform most of Europe from a continent of war to a continent of peace.
The work of the EU represents ‘fraternity between nations’, and amounts to a form of the "peace congresses" to which Alfred Nobel refers as criteria for the Peace Prize in his 1895 will.” (Taken from the announcement of the Norwegian Nobel Committee)
What does Europe and the world think about the award for the EU? We collected some reactions for you:
“We must never forget that, at its origins, the European Union brought together nations emerging from the ruins of the devastating Second World War and united them in a project for peace ... The Nobel peace prize council, and in fact the international community, are now sending a very important message to Europe - that the European Union is something very precious, that we should cherish it.” - European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso
“Nobel prize for the EU. At a time Brussels and all of Europe is collapsing in misery. What next? An Oscar for Van Rompuy?” — Dutch euroskeptic lawmaker Geert Wilders, referring to Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council.
“The EU is an unique project that replaced war with peace, hate with solidarity. Overwhelming emotion for awarding of Nobel prize to EU.” — Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, on Twitter.
“I interpret the decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the EU at the moment when the Union has never been weaker as a petition directed at the European political elites – those same elites who, as we all see, are conducting themselves in the crisis today with neither courage nor vision.” – Jürgen Habermas, German Philosopher
“This goes to show that the Norwegians really do have a sense of humour. The EU may be getting the booby prize for peace because it sure hasn’t created prosperity. — Nigel Farage, head of Britain's euroskeptic U.K. Independence Party.
“If they want to give the prize for preserving the peace in Europe, they should divide it between NATO and the EU. Until the end of the Cold War, it was NATO more than anyone else that kept the peace.” — former British foreign secretary Malcolm Rifkind.
“For over 65 years on our continent is at peace. Former enemies are now close partners and friends. Today, Germany is surrounded only by friendly nations.” — Hermann Groehe, general secretary of German Chancellor Angela's Merkel's Christian Democratic Union party.
“With this award, the Nobel Committee has tried to say: ‘Watch out for populism, pay attention to the limits and risks so they don’t break what you have worked so hard to build.’” Charles de Marcilly, Fondation Robert Schuman, a research centre which studies the EU and its policies.