Wednesday, 10 October 2012 00:00 GFP Columnist - Dr. Stephen Gill
The peace prize awarded by the Nobel Committee to the European Union in 2012 has outraged and baffled many, and many more have derided it as shameful, absurd, satirical and a joke. The reason for derision of the European Union is its heavy debt and the dissatisfaction of some of its members who have threatened to get out of the Union. Some have dubbed the European Union a club of hatred and rivalry.

Rivalry and hatred among European nations existed before the European Union came into existence. On the positive side, no two members have come to armed clashes since its inception, whereas in the past seventy years France and Germany fought three wars.

The European Union was formed after the Second World War to maintain peace. The First World War that ended on November 11, 1918, caused several empires to collapse. In Europe, there was inflation and starvation everywhere. 10 million people perished in the war itself.

Almost one generation of young people was lost in war. The demons of the enormous number of economic problems wandered everywhere. The social economy was in a shambles. Then there was the death of around 50 million people from the influenza outbreak in the world. In 1939 The Second World War was underway that ended in 1945, killing around 60 million people, flattening cities, and resulting in the Holocaust.

The area of the European Union is certainly much better now than it was during those wars, and most likely to remain better even if there is another war. Its citizens are suffering, but they are not dying of starvation. The European Union is to be congratulated for avoiding armed clashes among its member states. Peace is the absence of violence to settle disputes. Peace is not the absence of problems of political, even of personal nature. Peace is not the abolition of conflicts. Peace is the abolition of the use of violence in relations among the countries.

Recognition by the Nobel Committee gives confidence and boost for the survival of the European Union. The prize will help the European Union to get rid some of its debts. The fact that no two members have gone to war against each other demonstrates its success. Moreover the EU has made it possible for its citizens to move around easily within the territories of its members which fosters understanding.

The EU was the first of its kind and naturally faces a few situations to adjust by trial and error. On the positive side, the EU has sent troops, civilian experts and aid in other forms to around 28 missions abroad. It also is a leading supporter of poor nations. Its part played in the Middle-East conflict is commendable. The EU has promoted democracy and human rights. The European Union also provides a blueprint for a democratically-formed parliament of nations that is going to be a reality in some shape sooner or later to avoid wars on the global level.

I do not find it questionable when the Nobel Committee recognizes the European Union. It is not controversial as it was in 2009 when the Nobel Peace Prize went to President Barack Obama, and others before him. To me peace prize by the Nobel Committee for 2012 is not and should not be questionable. It is a right step in the right direction.

Image: Secretary General Klaus Welle accepts a congratulatory bouquet from Atle Leikvoll, the Norwegian Ambassador to the EU on the news of the award of the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union - Brussels, Oct. 12, 2012.

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You are here:   The FrontPageColumnistsCanadaDr. Stephen GillThe Nobel Peace Prize for 2012 is Unquestionable