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The European Union should be reorganized with or without the Nobel Peace Prize

10 December 2012 / 19:12:38  GRReporter
2986 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

The 2012 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded today in Oslo. Dozens of leaders of European countries travelled to Norway to attend the ceremony and to receive the prize, which was awarded to the European Union.

The news provoked strong reactions even two months ago, when the names of this year's laureates were announced. Euro sceptics from the Czech President to international human rights organizations and mainly leftist parties and organizations determine the prize as a mistake and farce, each of them pointing out different arguments.

GRReporter sought the opinion of two analysts: the history professor Thanos Veremis and political analyst Plamen Tonchev.

“In my opinion, the decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union is right and it is educational too: Europe must be kept as the European Union. I think this is the practice followed in awarding the prizes in general. When Barack Obama had been awarded long before it was clear what the course of his foreign policy would be, the prize was a way to tell him to be more peaceful. The Nobel prizes awarding and the peace prize above all follow this tradition.

The European Union avoided the outbreak of a new military conflict, whereas wars between European countries were very common in all ages in the past and especially during the 20th century. The European Union received the prize for its charitable activity especially in Palestine as well. It has been funding it continuously and I think that their survival is due primarily to Europe,” states the Greek historian.

The crisis is an additional reason for the existence of the European Union and the strengthening of its institutions.

In his opinion, the financial crisis the European Union is going through is actually a chance to move to a real European integration - not only economical but also political. "Undoubtedly, we are currently going through a very severe economic crisis. Many analysts doubt that the European Union will survive. But I think the crisis is an additional reason for the existence of the European Union and the strengthening of its institutions."

History shows that crises act positively in this regard. What is necessary now, at least in respect of the Economic and Monetary Union, is stronger institutions: that is to say a central bank with more competencies, a common economic and fiscal policy and why not a strong central government, a federation. This is something that can be born from the current crisis despite the contrary opinion of Great Britain and the other states unwilling to participate in such a system."

Plamen Tonchev analyzes the arguments "for" and "against" the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union. According to him, the organization deserves this prize after being created in order to prevent a new military conflict on the continent, on which two world wars had started. Another argument in favour of the decision of the Norwegian Nobel Committee is the European Union financial support to third world countries, where it is a major donor.

"The European Union as a whole is a positive example for other regions of the world. This is not stated in the reasoning of the Nobel Committee, but it is true that the European Union is a positive example in terms of its experience in economic and, to a large extent, political integration as well. It is no coincidence that the SEAN member countries of Southeast Asia have set a goal to create by 2015 an economic community similar to the European common market, which was established in the 1980s. There are similar initiatives for regional integration in Africa and South America as well. But given that the economic cooperation somewhat accommodates the differences between neighbouring countries, I think that the European experience is really positive and beneficial to other regions of the world.

The European Union as a whole is a positive example for other regions of the world. This is not stated in the reasoning of the Nobel Committee, but it is true that the European Union is a positive example in terms of its experience in economic and, to a large extent, in political integration as well.

Another argument is that the European Union is a leading force in the negotiations on climate change. As part of the Kyoto agreement, all European countries are firmly bound to comply with these provisions."

The arguments against awarding the prize

Plamen Tonchev criticizes the position of the three previous laureates who took a stand against the granting of the financial amount. "I read carefully the objections voiced by South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who was the laureate of the prize for fighting the Apartheid in 1994. Other laureates voiced similar objections too: Mairead Maguire from Northern Ireland and the Argentine Adolfo Perez Esquivel. They insist that the amount that goes along with the prize should not be paid and state that the European Union contravenes the values ​​that are associated with the prize because Europe relies on military force in order to achieve security. I think this criticism is excessive. When we achieve a world without conflicts, a world of harmony and love, then their arguments will probably be valid. But I fear that we will not be able to avoid the use of military force in resolving conflicts in the foreseeable future at least."

Tags: PoliticsNobel Peace PrizeEuropean Union
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