Mobile  |  About us  |  Photos  |  Videos  |  Subscriptions  |  RSS Feeds  |  Today's Paper  |  Classifieds  |  Contact Us
The Daily Star
WEDNESDAY, 16 APR 2014
10:24 AM Beirut time
Weather    
Beirut
23 °C
Blom Index
BLOM
1,214.01down
International
Follow this story Print RSS Feed ePaper share this
EU Nobel Peace Prize earns praise and ridicule from leaders
The European Union flag fly amongst European Union member countries' national flags in front of the European Parliament on October 12, 2012 in Strasbourg, eastern France. (AFP PHOTO/FREDERICK FLORIN)
The European Union flag fly amongst European Union member countries' national flags in front of the European Parliament on October 12, 2012 in Strasbourg, eastern France. (AFP PHOTO/FREDERICK FLORIN)
A+ A-

BRUSSELS / LONDON / UNITED NATIONS: Europe’s leaders hailed Friday’s award of the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize to the EU in recognition of 60 years without war but critics attacked it as misplaced, even undeserved.

Alongside congratulations, there were calls too for the EU to live up to its responsibilities as the bloc struggles with soaring unemployment and a slumping economy – causes enough for war in the past.

Eurosceptics meanwhile found in the award fresh grounds for complaint against an institution they see as overblown, over-extended, and damaging to the true interests of its people.

“This goes to show that the Norwegians really do have a sense of humor,” said European Parliament member Nigel Farage, head of the U.K. Independence Party, who wants a referendum on Britain leaving the EU.

“The EU may be getting the booby prize for peace because it sure hasn’t created prosperity. The EU has created poverty and unemployment for millions,” Farage charged.

British Prime Minister David Cameron made no comment on the event. “I don’t think we’re intending on putting anything out,” a spokesman for the prime minister said after repeated requests for comment.

Britain’s Foreign Office issued a two-sentence statement several hours after the announcement.

“This award recognizes the EU’s historic role in promoting peace and reconciliation in Europe, particularly through its enlargement to Central and Eastern Europe,” it said.

Lech Walesa, who won the 1983 Nobel Peace Prize for leading Poland’s anti-communist movement, said he was “unpleasantly surprised” by the award.

“Certainly the European Union is trying to change Europe and the world in a peaceful way but it gets paid to do that,” while individual activists routinely make sacrifices and take huge risks to do so, Walesa said.

Czech President Vaclav Klaus echoed Walesa disenchantment calling EU’s award a “tragic mistake.”

“I really thought it was a hoax, a joke. I couldn’t imagine even in a dream that someone could be serious about it,” added Klaus, quoted by the CTK news agency.

Klaus also slammed the prize being awarded to an institution, saying it made sense if awarded to “a specifically defined personality for a certain unique achievement.”

In marked contrast, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was fulsome in her praise. “Let me congratulate the European Union ... it’s quite remarkable to see how unified and peaceful Europe is in the 21st century and that did not happen by coincidence,” Clinton said.

“It happened because of the very hard work and dedication of leaders and citizens across Europe.”

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also congratulated the EU, calling the prize a “richly deserved recognition” of its achievements.

“The European Union has more than lived up to its founding dream of forging a united and peaceful continent out of the devastation of two world wars,” Ban said.

Ban praised it as “an engine of integration” that had achieved peace within Europe’s borders built on dialogue and the rule of the law, creating “a model to be emulated the world over.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said naming the EU was a “wonderful” decision. The prize given by the Nobel Committee in Oslo “honors the idea of European integration,” Merkel said, noting the “years of terrible bloodshed, horrible wars, murder and devastation” that had come before.

French President Francois Hollande welcomed the award as “a great honor” and said Europe must show it is “worthy” of the award.

“This Nobel Prize is a great honor conferred on Europe,” Hollande said at a press conference on a visit to Dakar.

“Europe has won an award today because it has been able to carry on this great adventure of union, peace and rights,” he noted. But Europe must also be able to offer growth, progress, jobs and solidarity, as well as major projects for durable development and cultural exchange, he stressed.

Top EU leaders themselves were aglow with pride.

“I have to say that when I woke up this morning I did not expect it to be such a good day,” was the first response from a beaming Jose Manuel Barroso, the European Commission head more used to a daily diet of criticism over the bloc’s economic travails.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on October 13, 2012, on page 1.
Home International
 
     
 
Norway
Advertisement
Comments  

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus
Advertisement


Baabda 2014
Advertisement
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Linked In Follow us on Google+ Subscribe to our Live Feed
Multimedia
Images  
Pictures of the day
A selection of images from around the world- Tuesday April 15, 2014
View all view all
Advertisement
Rami G. Khouri
Rami G. Khouri
Silencing Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s hate talk
Michael Young
Michael Young
The presidential chess game has begun
David Ignatius
David Ignatius
China moves to the scary side of its boom
View all view all
Advertisement
cartoon
 
Click to View Articles
 
 
News
Business
Opinion
Sports
Culture
Technology
Entertainment
Privacy Policy | Anti-Spamming Policy | Disclaimer | Copyright Notice
© 2014 The Daily Star - All Rights Reserved - Designed and Developed By IDS