back to article And the latest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize is ... the EU?

The European Union has won the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize. The 27-member-states bloc won the famous award today for having contributed, during its six decades of existence, "to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe," the Norwegian Nobel Committee said today. Prominent recent Peace Prize …

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  1. Jediben
    Megaphone

    I wish they'd given more notice

    I would have prepared a speech!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I wish they'd given more notice

      Just don't use a teleprompter.

      1. solidsoup

        Re: I wish they'd given more notice

        Why not? It worked for Obama. Not sure why you'd want the honor though. Nobel Peace Prize has been going downhill ever since they gave one to Arafat. After he was the first person to bring a gun to the UN no less.

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: I wish they'd given more notice

          "Nobel Peace Prize has been going downhill ever since they gave one to Arafat."

          Arafat was in 1994. Kissinger preceded him by over twenty years.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seriously though...

    I'm in my fifties. My parents lived through a major European war, so did my grandparents, as did their parents and grandparents. I haven't had to, my children haven't, and their children won't. Now if we want a war we have to travel a long way and pick a fight with some dictator, and then we just send our young men and women to do the nasty stuff while we sleep safely in our beds.

    Whatever the bad aspects of the EU (and there are quite a few) it has basically made European wars unthinkable. Now we fight our neighbours on the footie pitch, and have stand up arguments at the council of ministers. That's worth a lot, not least a Nobel gong.

    1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      Re: Seriously though...

      Whatever the bad aspects of the EU (and there are quite a few) it has basically made European wars unthinkable.

      I wouldn't go that far, given that there was a "War to end all wars" nearly 100 years ago, followed shortly by another one. European war does seem unlikely now, but you never know what tomorrow's going to bring. Tensions are rising slightly what with the economic issues being experienced, it only takes one country to overreact to something and we could be looking at a war.

      Hopefully not, though.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Seriously though...

        Because this time, instead of a «war to end all wars», which doesn't appear to work, we made a union to end all wars. So far, that move seems to have been a smarter one.

    2. JimC

      Re: Seriously though...

      > my children haven't, and their children won't.

      You're braver than I am to make a prediction like that. *If* we are in for a major change in the climate, however caused, and, for instance, we start looking at a water shortage or mass migrations, then anything could happen. There's also the interesting question of why the rest of the world should sell food to Northern Europe rather than China or India which will be one that your grandchildren will be struggling with.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Seriously though...

        But it has removed the "we haven't had a war with Spain/France/Germany for 20years - it's about time we did" from the last 1000 years of history.

        Although whether this is down to the Eu or Oppenheimer is a bit more debatable.

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge
          Happy

          Re: "down to the Eu or Oppenheimer"

          No contest. Given the present state of the EU, I'd say Oppenheimer's was the only influence keeping the peace.

      2. fritsd
        Pint

        Re: Seriously though...

        Well, that's the other leg of the "secret EU blueprint": food supply security. Hence the enormous agricultural subsidies. The "secret" plan was:

        1. No more wars

        2. No more famine

        3. Everything else, is a bonus

        For a very thorough description of the history of the past 100 years, read Geert Mak's "In Europa". It includes interviews with the people who built the EU, while they were still alive.

    3. h4rm0ny

      Re: Seriously though...

      " it has basically made European wars unthinkable."

      What has happened is that the ruling classes have become internationalized, rather than just being the ruling class of a particular nation. Naturally that leads to less war between nations because it's inefficient to battle your own multi-national interests. (Though obviously the threat of war can still be lucrative if you're in the arms business). The next European war will between the poor and the rich and it wont be called a war, it will be called unrest or rioting or terrorism.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Mushroom

        Re: Seriously though... (h4rm0ny)

        re: "Naturally that leads to less war between nations because it's inefficient to battle your own multi-national interests."

        I'd like to bring your attention to J. Heller's Catch-22 and ask you if the likes of Halliburton or Bechtel agree. (also re: Doonesbury)

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: Seriously though... (h4rm0ny)

          "I'd like to bring your attention to J. Heller's Catch-22 and ask you if the likes of Halliburton or Bechtel agree. (also re: Doonesbury)"

          And I would point out that neither Halliburton nor Bechtel's recent war-mongering efforts were directed at EU countries. I was intending to refer within the context of where trans-national business interests exist. So between EU countries or between the EU and the USA, it would be against those business interests for a war between them. At the time of the Iraq invasion (for example, which Halliburton pushed for), they didn't have significant business presence in the country. (They do now).

          Catch-22: great novel. But even Milo Minderbinder was being paid by the Germans for his bombing raids so doesn't contradict my example. ;)

      2. fritsd
        Boffin

        Re: Seriously though...

        "What has happened is that the ruling classes have become internationalized, rather than just being the ruling class of a particular nation."

        Hey, don't knock the idea, it worked for Charlemagne after all!

        Prerequisite for this to work is that the elites understand that people speak different languages in the EU, and that they should at least try to acquire some fluency in a few of the most important ones.

        I suspect this is why the Brits feel a bit left out sometimes.

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: Seriously though...

          "Hey, don't knock the idea, it worked for Charlemagne after all!"

          It worked very well for Charlemagne. And I suppose fewer wars was a benefit to the serfs and peasants. Still, would be nice to avoid wars because of good relations between peoples, rather than through the merging of their ruling classes, which is what I was getting at. I'm actually fairly optimistic, but I think pretending the internationalization of business interests isn't a major factor in preserving peace is naive. As you point out, it has upsides even if Marx wouldn't be happy.

          "Prerequisite for this to work is that the elites understand that people speak different languages in the EU, and that they should at least try to acquire some fluency in a few of the most important ones"

          The elites all speak the most important one: Money. ;)

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Seriously though...

      You are lucky. I am 10 years younger than you and I remember a slightly different picture.

      I have seen all the west facing hillsides in my native country yellow from the fallout from the fires raging after the factories in the neigbouring country got carpet bombed. I have seen cancer rage like flu amids the 50-60 y old generation for several years after that (supposedly unrelated to the same fallout). I have seen blockade busting trains with fuel and munitions run in front and behind each passenger express at sub 1 minute intervals (so that they show up as one train on the management system). I have had missiles shot at one of my parents workplace across the border by "peacekeepers" twice. I am now afraid to let my kid go out and play alone when visiting my native country because the organ-harvesting operation run by one of the parties in that war (upon advice from one 3 letter abbreviation) has now spilled into the neighbouring countries. Yes, there are scarier things then "paedos" and they are unfortunately real - ask Mrs Ponti who was prevented to finish her investigation into the war crimes from that "unthinkable" war.

      Unthinkable war? Cough, sputter, cough, sputter. Unthinkable my sorry arse. Oh... I forgot... It is in that ... Other Europe... the one with the undesirables...

    5. Voland's right hand Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Seriously though...

      You are very brave to predict that about you and your children.

      Every time I am tempted to make such a prediction I give a second thought to just how many of the predictions of Robert F Hamilton about the future from the background to Gregg Mandel's trilogy have come through (or are about to). I give it another careful thought and decide not to make any such predictions...

    6. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Seriously though...

      > it has basically made European wars unthinkable.

      You really believe that?

      Humans are tribal animals. The EU tells us that it's wrong to think of ourselves as French/German/British, "us" versus "them", and we must all be "europeans". The result has been a huge increase in local tribalism, look at the rise in Basque/Catalan/Breton nationalism, the increasingly virulent rhetoric of Salmond and the SNP, the acrimony between Walloon and French in Belgium, etc. Worse, it is all supported by the EU with grant money. Far from creating a peaceful unified state (which will never happen) they are encouraging a fragmented, balkanized Europe of parochial, bigoted minnows.

      If it does stop world wars, it will only be because the belligerents will all be too tiny to raise more than an ironic "thank God I don't live there" laugh at their "troubles" among the uninvolved. Not that it will help the people involved, of course. Ask the N. Irish.

      If I were into conspiracy theories I could even suggest that it was deliberate, "divide and conquer" by the European powers that be. That's probably unlikely, since they couldn't get organized enough to find their well-padded european arses with both hands.

      The Nobel Peace committee have made themselves a laughing stock. Again.

      1. Patrick R
        Pint

        Re: the acrimony between Walloon and French in Belgium

        You might want to study cultural tensions in that part of the world again. I live there.

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: the acrimony between Walloon and French in Belgium

          > You might want to study cultural tensions in that part of the world again. I live there.

          Oops, my apologies. I meant to write Walloon and Flemish, and I realise that's an over-generalization anyway, sorry. I'm sure I don't understand all the complexities of that situation, but the fact that there *is* a situation is the point I wanted to make.

          Cheers

      2. Gian

        Re: Seriously though...

        and don't forget Wales, Scotland, NI...

      3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Seriously though...

        Or the Eu, with a central bank, central currency and an open market have made it perfectly practical for an independant NI or Scotland or Basque country.

        After all the previous arguement - you have to be part of Britain or the nasty French/German/Spanish will get you didn't work out too well.

    7. Heathroi
      Mushroom

      Re: Seriously though...

      That what a lot of people thought at start of July 1914. i wonder what happens when, for example, someone campaigns and wins an election to take their nation out of the EU or a split in the partnership over differing visions of the direction of the EU.

  3. TeeCee Gold badge
    WTF?

    Change of system?

    The old way of doing things was that a panel would review what had happened in the world recently, looking for a standout candidate who had worked to bring peace in some way or another. The trouble was that "nobody" won 19 times.

    I guess that, judging by awards in recent years, the new system involves papering a wall with a selection of the world's newspapers and then chucking a dart it while blindfolded. Process is repeated until a proper noun is hit.

    We'll know if I'm right. They'll award it to Stannah Stairlifts one year.......

    1. Heathroi
      Childcatcher

      Re: Change of system?

      Would they throw again if Jimmy Saville's name is hit?

  4. Elmer Phud
    Mushroom

    Peace Prize

    A Peace Price for not having a war?

    Just for the old families to finally agree they own everything in Europe now?

    That and its far better politically to have conflicts elsewhere - and them never declared as 'wars' either.

    We've not grown up at all - just found ways of shifting the blame.

    1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

      Re: Peace Prize

      It's better than that. If Obama won a Peace Prize, it makes you wonder what the criteria is. Propagating wars that you told everyone you'd shut down if you were elected, continuing to imprison people in foreign countries a decade after their arrest and still without fair trial, etc. It's hardly "peaceful" even if you don't count that the same as being "respectful of human rights".

      If nothing else, nominating and awarding what is basically an entire continent just because it didn't OFFICIALLY declare war (but sent millions of troops to go invade foreign countries to instil a different leadership compatible with the US) is a bit far-fetched.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Peace Prize@ Lee Dowling

        Well, coming back to the EU, basically this is like handing a bunch of kids a box of sweets because they havn't has a fight this week.

        I'd have thought that those declared neutral countries like Sweden and the Swiss are far more deserving than the fat cat wasters of the EU.

  5. Not Fred31
    Facepalm

    What about Afghanistan

    For the Germans, I mean...

  6. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Pint

    Throughout history, France has the "better" track record in terms of number of invasions than the Germans do (and not just when Napoleon ruled them).

    Still, all of us EU citizens now have 1/503,492,041th of a Nobel Peace Prize. Let's raise a glass to that (not that we need such a flimsy excuse).

    1. Annihilator
      Happy

      "Still, all of us EU citizens now have 1/503,492,041th of a Nobel Peace Prize. Let's raise a glass to that"

      Yup, in yo' *face*, Rest Of World! Haven't felt this proud since I won Time Person of the Year back in 2006 :-D

  7. h4rm0ny

    I can't be the only one thinking that maybe the Germans *should* just take over...

    I mean their country is organized, has good public transport, decent working regulations, a strong economy and an educated workforce. Okay, not much of a sense of humour, but they keep things running. The Germans actually *like* all that organization stuff that the rest of us see as a boring necessary evil. They elected a Chemist as their leader whilst most of the rest of us settle for either lawyers or over-ambitious politics students. If they want it, let them have it. They clearly know what they're doing and it'll stop them having to invade places too.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: a chemist as the leader

      We also had a former research chemist for our leader (between 1979 - 1990) although she did also have a go at being a barrister too.

      I'd say 'Not much of a sense of humour' definitely applied to that individual too.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: a chemist as the leader

        > I'd say 'Not much of a sense of humour' definitely applied to that individual too.

        Although apparently she enjoyed "Yes, Minister" :)

    3. David Given
      Stop

      Re: I can't be the only one thinking that maybe the Germans *should* just take over...

      Be careful what you ask for. *We* elected a chemist, in 1979, and bitterly regretted it...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I can't be the only one thinking that maybe the Germans *should* just take over...

      I'm sorry, I'm sure your post was meant in jest, but it is truly stereotype-tastic.

      I know quite a few Germans with superb senses of humour. And quite a few who can't bloody stand "all that organization stuff".

      Claiming that 80-or-so million people share the same traits just because they share the same nationality is the sort of thing that, when taken to extremes, helps to perpetuate exactly the sort of wars that the EU is now being credited with having helped to prevent.

      As a hundred other people will no doubt have pointed out before I finish typing this, the UK also elected a chemist as their leader within living memory. Also, a garden-ornament salesman, a rock music promoter, and a book publisher.

      > it'll stop them having to invade places too.

      Germany hasn't invaded anywhere for nearly seventy years; a better record than certain other peace-loving European countries can manage.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I can't be the only one thinking that maybe the Germans *should* just take over...

      "They clearly know what they're doing"

      Their current electricity generation policies mirror those of the UK, which is to say they are Bloody Stupid. Still, the Germans seem to be bankrolling the rest of us, and so long as the French can keep selling everyone else cheap power I'm sure nothing will go horribly wrong.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I can't be the only one thinking that maybe the Germans *should* just take over...

        "Still, the Germans seem to be bankrolling the rest of us"

        Err, no. The other way round. As a composite currency, the relative exchange rate that Germany enjoys is far lower than it would with the D Mark, which keeps German exports cheaper than they should be, and makes imports more expensive. Lots of lovely trade, big current account trade surpluses, mmmm. Meanwhile, having made up their numbers and over-borrowed, the Southern Europeans have the converse problem, whilst happily having bought German exports with easy credit. When the easy credit dried up, Southern Europe hit the wall.

        So now Greece and Spain burn, whilst the Germans enjoy undeserved full employment. It's also notable that the Germans (and French) want their money back having bankrolled the stupid and excessive borrowing of the Southern Europeans, rather than accept that a bad loan is a bad loan.

        In simple terms, the imbalances mean that Southern Europe have bankrolled the German economy for a decade, but the time comes to resolve the problem, and for the Germans to contribute to sorting the mess out, they pull faces and say "nein".

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: I can't be the only one thinking that maybe the Germans *should* just take over...

          "whilst the Germans enjoy undeserved full employment"

          Your post is factually accurate and I mostly agree with it, except to say that "undeserved" isn't really fair. Yes, the Germans get advantages out of EU membership but those advantages are in their favour because the Germans have built such a strong industrial base. Had Spain or Greece out-competed the Germans through working harder or being more innovative, then the same mechanisms would now be working in Span and Greece's favour. Having spent time in both Greece and Germany (not Spain), I can testify that the Germans do on the whole work a lot harder and more dilligently than the Greeks and they most definitely are more scrupulous in paying their taxes!

          And whilst it's not without reward for them (assuming it pulls through), it is Germany that is broadly keeping the EU going by bailing out Greece. Harsh as things are in Greece with the cuts, a default is generally considered to be something that would be worse.

          1. something

            Re: I can't be the only one thinking that maybe the Germans *should* just take over...

            Ok, let me get this right on the topic of Germans working better.

            Siemens found guilty of bribing its a** off and getting all the manufacturing contracts in Greece.

            MAN was similarly found guilty for transport vehicles.

            Submarines sold in the Greek navy were found defective and Germany forced Greece to accept them.

            Do you want me to continue? Of course Germans work better!! (and the Greeks are also stupid, so responsibility is equal).

            Since we are talking about a nobel prize, Greece and Germany... why has Greece been forced to pay the largest percentage in Europe for military expenses? Oh yes... we *europeans* havent managed to work things out with Turkey, so.... Greeks buy all the military equipment from Germany, France etc. Yay!! Peace rules!!!

  8. Rick Berry
    FAIL

    "The award is worth approximately £747,000 or $1.2m, so those of our readers who are EU citizens can presumably expect a draft for approximately 0.15 pence or equivalent as soon as Brussels cashes its award cheque."

    And along with each check for .15 pence, expect a bill for one euro to cover the bureaucracy needed to mail out the .15 pence checks and process the bills.

  9. Code Monkey

    While 60-odd years without war in Western Europe I can't help thinking it's been a "slow peace year".

  10. Lunatik
    WTF?

    Does this mean I can put Nobel Prize winner on my CV now?

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge
      Coat

      Certainly! You heard M. Barroso, didn't you. The downside is that I can, too, and you may feel that I've devalued the whole thing. Sorry.

  11. Waspy
    FAIL

    How does $1.2m between 500m people

    ...equal £0.15?

    1. CCCP
      Facepalm

      Re: How does $1.2m between 500m people

      It doesn't - but I think the point is "not very much per person", and £0.15 = not very much.

      This being el reg though, one messes up the math at one's own peril...

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: How does $1.2m between 500m people

      It doesn't, and the article didn't say that it did. It said 0.15 *pence*, or £0.0015.

      $1.2m/500m = $0.0024, which is £0.00145 at current rates. Close enough.

      1. Waspy
        Coat

        Re: How does $1.2m between 500m people

        Yep, I'll get me coat...

    3. Al 24
      FAIL

      Re: How does $1.2m between 500m people

      It doesn't, it equals 0.15 pence - same as they wrote in the article.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The EU hasn't really been tested yet - lets see what they do when Spain or Greece falls apart into civil war.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They'll revoke the rules on accepting refugees, of course!

  13. jacobbe
    Alert

    They are really scraping the barrel of ideas.

  14. Miami Mike
    WTF?

    Over here in the Colonies, the prevailing opinion is that Obama got the Nobel Peace prize mostly for not being George Bush.

    Well, I'm not George Bush either, so where's MY Nobel Peace prize? Further, I can PROVE that I have never invaded or bombed anyone, I don't operate questionably legal offshore detention centers, and I've never, ever, ever been a friend of the banks - any banks - ever. Cross my heart and hope they die.

    Let me know when you're ready, I'll be preparing my acceptance speech and a deposit slip forthwith.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Cross my heart and hope they die."

      It's these kind of words that got you knocked off the short-list. Must try harder.

      1. Miami Mike
        Mushroom

        OK, understand.

        How's this: "Cross my heart, and if you line the MF'ers up against a wall, I'll cheerfully pay for all the ammunition you need with my American Express card."

        Better?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They do NEED the money

    If nothing else, the EU can use the money. Will the prize be divided evenly among all citizens, or all residents, or kept to pay for the central parliament cots?

  16. Dr Scrum Master
    Coat

    Rollover?

    When there's no sufficiently worthy candidate why can't the Nobel committee just hold a rollover until the next year?

    The Soviet Union (and later Russia) has withheld the gold in the International Tchaikovsky Competition on a number of occasions....

  17. Tom 7 Silver badge

    The UK has been a member since 1973

    and we've done every thing the US asked of us so how can this be?

  18. Dave 15

    Stopped the Germans invading?

    Maybe the Germans have realised that the EU is cheaper than a fleet of tanks. Appears they have managed to force their will on quite a large area without expending that much cash. If you think it is a two way road try getting a job in Germany .... oh no sir, despite losing the chance to impose the German language on Europe in 1945 we maintain the right to insist that anyone who isn't a native speaker is as welcome here as a wart in the anus.

  19. VeganVegan
    Mushroom

    Pax Romana

    'nuf said.

  20. Mike Banahan
    FAIL

    Nato played no role then?

    Ah right - it was the EU, of course, that prevented another war in Western Europe.

    Or maybe the mutual defence pact of NATO had something to do with it: start a war against one of the members and America plus the remaining dwarves will immediately destroy you.

    No, you are right, that couldn't possibly have had anyone thinking twice.

    1. Chris Miller

      Re: Nato played no role then?

      No, no, Mike - it's only the presence of those 30,000 fonctionnaires in the Berlaymont that prevents the Bundeswehr panzers from once more rolling down the Champs Élysées, NATO had nothing to do with it. As Tom Lehrer remarked: "Political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize."

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nato played no role then?

      Quite so, Mike. I was going to comment that I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact there were two major occupation armies in Germany engaged in a standoff for 45 years during which there was a tangible threat of catastrophic nuclear war. That existential threat, combined with the fact that the most powerful standing army in the EU was American, served well to pacify European militarism.

      1. graeme leggett

        Re: Nato played no role then?

        NATO was a Western European idea not a US one, perhaps the EU should be seen as a parallel political concept to the military one.

  21. John Savard Silver badge

    Next Year

    Unfortunately, Malala Youszafai was somewhat too late to get a nomination this year, but if she survives, she is a strong contender for next year.

  22. Jorba
    Angel

    Had to happen now

    Not really the sort of thing they can do posthumously.

  23. handy

    This is just like the rock that keeps away tiggers

    Correlation does not imply causation. Just because two things occur together, does not mean that one caused the other.

    A good analogy is the Simpsons. When a single bear wanders into town and Homer starts up a patrol

    Homer "Not a bear in sight. The Bear Patrol is working like a charm!”

    Lisa: “That’s specious reasoning, dad.”

    Homer "Thankyou Lisa".

    Lisa "By your logic, I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away.”

    Homer “Hmm; how does it work?”

    Lisa: “It doesn’t work; it’s just a stupid rock!”

    Homer: “Uh-huh.” Lisa: … but I don’t see any tigers around, do you?”

    Homer, “Lisa, I want to buy your rock…”

    Economics (europe was pretty much bankrupt) , nuclear deterrents, threat from the USSR, (with no european country being a super power) , the end of colonialism. There are literally dozens of reasons why there has not been a major war in Europe.

    1. badmonkey
      Angel

      Re: This is just like the rock that keeps away tiggers

      All true - but there has been something that can be called a major war in Europe, and quite the counter-argument to this whole back-slapping of the EU. That Serbia's me-too try out of right wing Christianity and nationalism wasn't stopped until Kosovo is a major blight on the EU's success story. It hardly helps that it was an Anglo-American effort that finally did the business.

  24. Gian

    Dear English friends, don't You ever come to mind of having been carefully brain-washed?

    All the posts here, like all your press, etc. seem to me an extreme exercise of glass climbing.

    You are the only nation full-time complaining, why ???

    You fill your mouth of words like: respect, tolerance, integration, and in Europe you only talk about British interest.

    Don't be parasites, forget your ugly weather and mood, be a little optimistic.

    Really want to go back to borders, customs, all kinds of limitations and inevitably... war

    Sometimes look at the bright side of EU

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