The European Union was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for the year 2012.
They were announced as the winners on the 12th October. Ever since, there have erupted several intense debates as to whether the European Union is actually a deserving laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize or not, given their present financial crisis.
The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded each year to those “who shall have done the most or the best work for the fraternity between nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for holding and promotion of peace congress” (An excerpt from Alfred Nobel’s will).
Some of the Nobel Peace Prize laureates in the past have been Barack Obama, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liu Xiaobo, Al Gore and so on and so forth.
The first and second world wars had devastated most parts of Europe. Theoretically, winners might have emerged, but practically, in the end, be it France, Germany or England, all had suffered the loss of millions of people and dollars.
World War II had pretty much left Europe dismantled and so the European Union (of today) was formed in 1992 as a “family of democratic European countries, committed to working together for peace and prosperity” (BBC News), to avoid any such catastrophe that had occurred in the past and caused widespread desolation. Economic integration of the European Union is considered to be one of the top most riding factors that have helped in maintaining profound, prolonged and continued state of peace.
The Nobel Peace Prize committee, while announcing the European Union as the winner for 2012, reasoned by saying that “the European Union helped to transform a once-torn Europe from a continent of war to a continent of peace”(Forbes.com).
What has essentially caused all the uproar is the looming question of whether the European Union is actually a deserving candidate in the time of such economic turmoil, which is threatening the very reason why the body has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Is the European Union really qualified for accepting a Nobel Peace Prize when Spain, Ireland, Italy and Greece, to name a few countries, are in the loop of dooming recession?
The answer, I think, is partly yes!
Germany, which has the strongest economy in the European Union and is the fourth largest economy in the world, is enormously helping the countries in economic distraught by releasing funds and aids. The European Commission is raising billions of Euros to ease the burden of debt-ridden countries.
Looking into the past, the European Union has most definitely had many success in its attempt to promote and spread democracy. The admission of Portugal, Spain and Greece in the 1980s after the cessation of dictatorship in their respective countries is a proof of their democratic wish.
The entrance of a couple of East European countries like Serbia and the talks of Croatia and Montenegro being granted admission in the near future shall lead to the suspension of pending tension that exists between West and East Europe.
The European Union has also contributed towards sustaining democracy even outside its own periphery.
The European Union played a major role in cornering Myanmar’s Junta regime, which eventually led to the release of Aung Sang Su Ki, a democracy crusader. Its contribution towards the cause of human rights across the globe cannot be left unmentioned either, especially its ban on the export of defence related items to China, is one of great weightage and importance.
However, if we are to talk of the Nobel Peace Prize, then it is a prize that has been given to individuals in the past and not “bodies” per say. Who, from the vast body of the European Union, is going to accept the Nobel Peace Prize?
As the former Secretary of State of the United States of America, Henry A. Kissinger, asked, “Who do I call if I want to call Europe?”
There shall always be critics who will present a case against European Union as a deserving candidate of the Nobel Peace Prize. However, its contributions to perpetuating peace and democracy can most certainly not be belittled, and perhaps why the European Union has been declared a laureate this year or awarded this honourable title is to encourage the body to fight against the current economic distress and regain its original status as a family, formed to maintain peace and prosperity.