Nobel Peace Prize goes to the EU. Does the committee exist just to troll Right-wingers?
The Nobel Peace Prize this year has been awarded to the European Union. Without wanting to go into whether or not that’s a good idea (it seems a bit strange, even to me), does this confirm at last that the prize’s organisers have stopped worrying so much about whether the recipients are actually deserving, and instead decided simply to pick people who will annoy Right-wingers?
I mean, come on. In 2009, Barack Obama while the ink was still wet on his inauguration documents. In 2002, Jimmy Carter (“History’s greatest monster!“). Now the EU, even while the Greek public are burning Nazi flags for Angela Merkel’s visit. In 2007, Al bloody Gore (thanks ArtificialIntelligence in the comments for reminding me of that one). Next year, will it be George Monbiot? Or possibly me? Do I need to start getting a speech together? “I’d like to thank Antonio Gramsci and the Frankfurt School…”
Mind you, using the Nobel Peace Prize for cheap laughs has a long and proud tradition. After all, political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded it.
By Bruno Waterfield, Brussels
9:38AM BST 12 Oct 2012
The EU has been nominated many times for the prize but has never won it because the Union is politically controversial, not least in Norway which rejected membership twice, in two referendums.
”The EU is this year’s winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, NRK has confirmed,” the state broadcaster announced on Friday morning.
”The European Union is in the middle of one of its worst crises, but perhaps it is precisely now that the peace and stabilisation project deserves a hand from the ‘no’ country Norway?”
It is thought that the award was made to the EU in a bid to encourage greater unity as the eurozone crisis threatens to tear it apart and as southern Europe is hit by an economic crash and growing social conflict largely caused by flaws in the European single currency.
But the prize, which is worth a million euros (800,000 million) will do little to help the EU’s debt and banking crisis which has so far cost over €6 trillion and will only be worth €0.002 for each of the Union’s 500 million citizens.
Living standards in Greece have crashed as the economy has contracted 20 per cent in the last three years, with youth unemployment yesterday hitting 54 per cent and the country’s social fabric has come under intense strain, including the rise of an explicitly neo-Nazi party.
In Spain, which is expected to ask for an EU bailout in the coming days after its government bonds were given junk status yesterday, the state is on the brink of fracturing under the pressure of the worst recession since the 1930s.
In recent weeks, senior military figures and veteran right-wing politicians have warned that the army might step in after Catalonia threatened to declare independence in a bid to extricate itself from a Spanish economy that has been destroyed by an asset bubble created by the euro’s economic imbalances.
Geir Lundestad, the Nobel committee secretary, has long wanted to give the EU the peace prize on the basis of post-war Franco-German reconciliation, because it “helped to consolidate democracy in Southern Europe” after the end of fascist regimes in Spain and Portugal and for its role in helping the transition in eastern Europe after the collapse of Communism.
Kristian Berg Harpviken, of Norway’s peace research institute PRIO, said: “It will probably be very controversial. Especially in Norway, it will be seen as a very, very political prize and a contribution to the Norwegian EU debate.”