Nobel Peace Prize: EU Wins For 2012
The EU has won the Nobel Peace Prize for its long-term role in uniting the continent, as the bloc faces its greatest internal crisis since it was established in the 1950s.
The 27-nation group was praised for rebuilding Europe after World War II and for its role in spreading stability to former communist countries after the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall.
Committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said it had been crucial in the transformation of a "once torn Europe from a continent of wars to a continent of peace".
"Over a seventy-year period, Germany and France had fought three wars. Today war between Germany and France is unthinkable," he said in Oslo."
"This shows how, through well-aimed efforts and by building up mutual confidence, historical enemies can become close partners."
He added: "This is a message to Europe to do everything they can to secure what they've achieved and move forward," he said, saying it was a reminder of what would be lost "if the union is allowed to collapse".
European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said on Twitter: "It is a great honour for the whole of the EU, all 500 million citizens."
But the award has sparked controversy, coming at a time when the EU is battling to solve the eurozone crisis and bridge deep rifts between a south drowning in debt and a wealthier north.
It will also spark surprise in host country Norway, which itself has rejected joining the union twice, in 1972 and 1994. Three-quarters of Norwegians say they are opposed to EU membership, according to recent polls.
Sky's foreign affairs editor Tim Marshall said that while the EU was "one of the great success stories of humanity", there would be many critics of its receipt of the award.
"The European Union is overseeing an economic crisis partially of its own making of the euro where it basically either forged figures, or turned a blind eye to knowing figures were forged to allow countries into the euro, which has helped create the economic crisis which is threatening stability," he said.
"Yugoslavia was a signal defeat for Europe's peace-making ability. Total failure. Also, Norway isn't even in the European Union. Its people, from whom the committee are drawn, has decided they don't want anything to do with it."
The EU won from a field of 231 candidates including Russian dissidents and religious leaders working for Muslim-Christian reconciliation.
It was picked out by a five-member committee appointed by the Norwegian parliament, where parties are deeply split over EU membership. Mr Jagland has long favoured joining.
A prize, worth £750,000, will be presented in Oslo on December 10.
Politicians in Germany, one of the main forces behind the foundation of the EU, were delighted with the award but the British government - less wedded to the European ideal - has made no comment.
Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls remarked: "They'll be cheering in Athens tonight, won't they?"
Some Greeks weary of years of austerity and crisis were certainly unhappy on hearing the news. "Is this a joke?" asked Chrisoula Panagiotidi, 36, a beautician who lost her job three days ago.
"It's the last thing I would expect. It mocks us and what we are going through right now. All it will do is infuriate people here."
And in Madrid, businessman Francisco Gonzalez, 62, was baffled. "I don't see the logic in the EU getting this prize right now. They can't even agree among themselves," he said.
Former Chancellor Lord Lamont said: "The decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the EU at a time when people in the streets of Athens are dressing up as Nazis seems preposterous and absurd.
"If the committee cannot think of an individual to whom they should award the prize, better not to give one at all."
Despite recurring difficulties, the EU has become the biggest common market in the world, allowing free circulation of goods, people, services and capital.
And after centuries of war on the continent, Europe has been at peace within its borders, although its effort to stop war in former Yugoslavia - hailed by one minister as "the hour of Europe" - was a failure.
The EU traces its origins back to the 1950s when six countries, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, joined forces in the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Economic Community (EEC).
It has grown in size over the years, reaching 15 members in 2004 when it embraced the first of the former Soviet states stranded for half a century behind the Iron Curtain. There are currently 27 member states.
The EU is the first organisation, rather than individual or group of individuals, to be awarded the prize, since Medecins Sans Frontieres in 1999.
what do you think?
This is kinda terrifying..
A joke right ? this is definately a joke...ok.
I don't think it is T. I checked my diary to see if we had a major swing around the the start of April.
The only jokers are the anti EU brigade who simply cannot see further than the rubbish spouted by the right wing press
Fighting on the streets of Greece, Spain, Portugal and France, bigger divisions between the rich and poor, dictatorial government of the EU and it gets a Nobel Peace Prize?????????????? Has the world gone mad or is it me? Nobel must be exploding in his grave.
The current crisis is purely down to the corrupt greedy practises of the global financial markets mainly controlled by the USA (and their UK lackeys) who simply don't want Europe to succed due to our immense potential. UKIP and it's ilk is the party for the few who don't want their corrupt practises taken away. Open your eyes please!
Surely the Euro crisis was caused by states spending money they did not have, not collecting taxes and corruption on every level. I agree with PhilA
ha ha, nice one Phil. A Norwegian bloke that created an explosive that has killed thousands in wars and accidents gets a peace prize named after him. 100 years later his prize is given to an organisation, whos member states have presided over the most war torn part of the world. Collectively responsible for the death of millions of people, many of whom died at the hands of his invention. hahah....please, stop it....hahahah, I can't take anymore of this.
I bet that devalues the Nobel Peace prize. Were they on another planet over the last few years. Have they gone into hibernation until now. The world has gone mad. I agree with phil A. I am not sure this is what it was set up for. It should be widthdrawn and shame on this travasty of the Nobel Peace prize which was NOT meant to be wrongly given out.
I may be imagining this but didn't blair get one ? or was he just up for one, maybe it was brown. cant be bothered to waste my fingertips googling it. either way, I agree, Its a travesty, to be regarded as nothing more than a joke.
Well done Europa,it was a long journey,but you all managed this big taste to bring 500 million Citizen under one Law! and I`m sure you will manage the few 100.000.00 youngster demonstrators,trying to sabotage your hard achievement!!Well done you deserve the Price!!
I welcome this news. Only yesterday on television we were told of just how many millions of people were killed in the two world wars. Wars that started between european nation states. There may well be, and have been internal disagreements in the EU, but for the majority of people in the uk the EU is a good thing. The working people of this country, now thanks to EU, since the early 90,s have rigts and protection at work that never existed before. Don't believe all the anti EU stuff printed by the right wing press.
Not sure how true this is, but: The Chairman of? the Norwegian Nobel Committee is Thorbjørn Jagland a former Norwegian Labour Prime-minister who is also as luck would have it the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe. He was also considered a friendly contact by the KGB in the 70's and 80's with the codename 'Jurij'. Also implicated in stealing money through fake memberships and assiociated grants for his Youth Worker groups.
Well said Pat Mc Guinness!
Well said Pat, I still find it infuriating that the right wing press can't find it in them to say anything positive about the good that a united Europe is in the world. But then the right wing MPs who consistently withhold the truth regards Europe simply don't want to give up the corrupt practises they have got used to by being big fish in a small pond!
How can you say that Pat as it is against all polls done the majority of people want out of the EU. Please could you validate your statement as it is not so much anti EU but a strong wish of the British people. I believe you are in the minority by saying the EU is good
There are a lot of precedents for the majority being wrong though, Christopher. Most Germans in the 1030's thought that Jews were destroying the German economy, the majority of people in the UK think that capital punishment will reduce the murder rate (just like it didn't in the USA) etc. From reading many of the posts on this site, I'm convinced that the majority of Britons know diddly squat about a) what the EU is b) why it was established c) what benefits it brings.
Orange. . Sort this out please its not April 1st!!
Is this award a money saving scam? EU is falling apart. They won't even have time to cash the cheque!
It's not the EU that's falling apart, Stephen, it's the Eurozone - subtle but important difference. The EU won't fall apart - it actually brings a lot of advantages to its members, although you'd never guess that by reading some of the comments on here!
You talk nonsense Stephen,Europa is not falling apart,they are one nation now,with 300 million citizens!
No its not joelle. England is a nation, France is a nation, Germany is a nation, Greece is a nation. Europe is a continent. The EU is a club.
I assume they need the cash top up to assist with the bail out of Greece, ireland, italy, Spain, Portugal and France
For all its faults - the EU being pretty much a 'bosses' and big business club', and the lack of a genuinely democratic legislative parliament, the EU is a step in the right direction historically. I think it should go further - to form a United States of Europe. On a lighter note - if the EU has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace, can I, as a citizen of the EU, now put 'Nobel prize winner' on my CV for the next time I go for a job interview?
Chris, you can as long as the job offers a large salary on which you pay loads of tax to help support the fiscal shortfall - e.g. investment banker!
Did anyone see the award ceromony on the telly ? The bloke giving the prize almost looked like he was in a trance. It was like he almost couldn't believe that he was doing it. Then the sheepish look he gave the audience after they gasped at the news. If it wasn't so comical, it would be painful.
see if the 27 nations would put it to a referendum of all the people to stay or leave the EU then see how peaceful it is . They know BIG% of the people in all nations would vote to come out and end this unelected undemocratic unsackable bunch of dictators not PEACE makers
"unelected", "dictators"? Have I been misinformed about the EU? Are the European Commission, the Council of Ministers, the European Parliament etc mere figments of my imagination?
Mick salt . ok can you name the twelve at the head of the council and tell me who voted them in and who re elects them and who they are accountable to .Because not to my knowage .as any one held a vote in this country or any other