There are many reasons to give someone the Nobel Peace Prize, from their potential as a leader to their disruptive but positive effect on secrecy. However, increasingly, the Peace Prize is a legacy award. For the bulk of the good work the organization has done, the Nobel Committee has decided that the time is right to crown the squabbling, broke, weakened European Union for its efforts to prevent global war. The EU is the newest Nobel Peace Prize winner, and given the rationale of the committee, it’s a well-deserved award.
“The stabilizing part played by the European Union has helped to transform a once torn Europe from a continent of war to a continent of peace,” said Nobel committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland. ”Today war between Germany and France is unthinkable. This shows how, through well-aimed efforts and by building up mutual confidence, historical enemies can become close partners.” Added Jagland, “The EU is currently undergoing grave economic difficulties and considerable social unrest. The Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to focus on what it sees as the EU’s most important result: the successful struggle for peace and reconciliation and for democracy and human rights.”
The EU got its start in 1950 when France and Germany decided to pool their steel and coal resources. Since then, it has expanded to 27 nations that cover over 500 million people. There are many demands for becoming an EU member, but the commitment to democracy is the one that seems to have affected EU membership the most. That’s what kept Spain and Greece out until 1980, when they became democracies, and why the nations of Eastern Europe weren’t eligible until 1989. The EU has also eased travel, increased international cooperation, and pushed forward human rights in its member countries, and all that has to be rewarded.
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