Former Chancellor Lord Lamont has criticised today's decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union, saying it was 'preposterous and absurd.'
I think today's decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the EU at a time when people in the streets of Athens are dressing up as Nazis seems preposterous and absurd.
It is the most ridiculous decision since the Nobel Prize committee gave the peace prize to Barack Obama when he had been president for two minutes. If the committee cannot think of an individual to whom they should award the prize, better not to give one at all.
The European Union was set up after World War Two to ensure the such a conflict would never afflict the continent again. It is based on the principles of 'peace, stability and prosperity' and began purely as an economic union. Here are some of the key dates in the European project:
- 1951: France, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, Luxemburg and the Netherlands sign the Treaty of Paris, creating the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC)
- 1957: France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg sign the Treaty of Rome establishing European Economic Community (EEC)
- 1974: The European Council is created as an informal forum for heads of state and government
- 1979: The Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) is formed, linking seven national currencies
- 1991: Maastricht Treaty sets the timetable for a single European currency by 1999. The EC is renamed the European Union
- 1999: The Euro is launched replacing national currencies in 11 countries
- 2007: 27 EU countries sign the Treaty of Lisbon, critics say the treaty erodes democracy by moving power away from national governments
- 2009: Greece doubled it deficit estimate, triggering the still raging eurozone crisis
Tony Blair has congratulated the European Union on winning the Nobel Peace Prize:
The European Union is one of the defining concepts of the last half century.
Amidst the turmoil of today we would do well to remember that when the Second World War ended Europe was in ruins.
What followed has been over 50 years of peace and progress.
The rationale for Europe today has changed but the ideal of a Europe united and working together remains constant.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the European Union was a recognition of its historic role in promoting peace and reconciliation:
This award recognises the EU’s historic role in promoting peace and reconciliation in Europe, particularly through its enlargement to Central and Eastern Europe. The EU must always strive to preserve and strengthen those achievements for the future.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace to the European Union. Lars Bevanger made the announcement saying:
"The Union, and its forerunners have for six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe. [...]The stabilising work of the European Union turned a continent of war into a continent of peace"
Citizens of the European Union have been giving their reaction to winning the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize on the Nobel prize website.
– Margrit Zauner, Austrian living in Germany
Wonderful! Working together is better than fighting against each other
– Jean Monnet
Congratulations EU! Go on, despite the bad times! I am so proud of you!
Let's hope that the member States' and the ones leading them read this award the way it is intended. Congratulations to all the Europeans!
The NATO Secretary General has congratulated the European Union on winning the Nobel Peace Prize:
I would like to offer my warmest congratulations to #EU on being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
$1.2 million will be awarded along with the prize when it is presented in Oslo in December 10.
If this was divided between the 497,481,657 people of the European Union, everyone would get 0.0024 cents each, or 0.0015p.
The unique effort by ever more European states to overcome war and divisions and to jointly shape a continent of peace and prosperity.