Reaction as EU wins Peace Prize

BRUSSELS Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:00pm EDT

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union won the Nobel Peace Prize for its long-term role in uniting the continent, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said on Friday, an award seen as a morale boost for the bloc as it struggles to resolve its debt crisis.

Following are reactions to the award:

FORMER GERMAN CHANCELLOR HELMUT KOHL

"It is a wise and far-sighted decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union this year. I am very pleased at this decision. The Nobel Peace Prize 2012 for the EU is above all a confirmation for the European peace project.

"It is also encouragement for all of us, to continue on the path to a united Europe, that is to say, to stick to the ever closer ties on our continent and to develop Europe despite some difficulties and problems which must yet be overcome.

"As Europeans we all have reason to be proud today. I am proud, and I wish for God's blessing for us on our further path to a united Europe."

FORMER EUROPEAN COMMISSION CHIEF JACQUES DELORS

"Europe carries on despite the crises. It's not a long calm river, but it is consolidating.

"I think all the heads of state and populations will take this award as an encouragement. I am very emotional. The last three decades have been very difficult."

US SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON

"Let me congratulate the European Union on its Nobel Peace Prize. Certainly it is quite remarkable to see how unified and peaceful Europe is in the 21st Century and that did not happen by coincidence. It happened because of the very hard work and dedication of leaders and citizens across Europe."

GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER GUIDO WESTERWELLE

"That is a fantastic decision which makes me proud and happy. European integration is the most successful project for peace in history.

"Freedom and Peace have grown out of the ruins of two devastating world wars and erstwhile enemies became good friends and inseparable partners.

"The Nobel Prize is a great incentive at this particular moment in time to solve our own problems, to be an example with our European model of cooperation and to strengthen our European efforts for a peaceful evolution of the world."

BELGIAN PRIME MINISTER ELIO DI RUPO

"Europe, a continent that was once taken apart by terrible wars, is thanks to the European Union today a symbol of peaceful debate and conflict resolution to the whole world."

MARTIN CALLANAN, LEADER OF THE EUROSCEPTIC CONSERVATIVES AND REFORMISTS PARTY IN THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

"The Nobel committee is a little late for an April fool's joke. Twenty years ago this prize would have been sycophantic but maybe more justified. Today it is downright out of touch.

"Presumably this prize is for the peace and harmony on the streets of Athens and Madrid."

FREDERIK HEFFERMEHL, OUTSPOKEN NORWEGIAN CRITIC OF NOBEL PEACE PRIZE

"This is the most striking example of the prize having been appropriated by the Norwegian political elite. The elite have no interest in Nobel."

BRITAIN'S OPPOSITION FINANCE SPOKESMAN ED BALLS

"They'll be cheering in Athens tonight, won't they."

CHRISOULA PANAGIOTIDI, BEAUTICIAN IN ATHENS

"Is this a joke?"

"It mocks us and what we are going through right now. All it will do is infuriate people here."

EU FOREIGN POLICY CHIEF CATHERINE ASHTON

"I am delighted at the news that the European Union has been awarded the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize, in recognition of its work on reconciliation, democracy, promotion of human rights and in enlarging the area of peace and stability across the continent.

"In the countries of the EU, historic enemies have become close partners and friends."

NATO SECRETARY GENERAL ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN

"The European Union has played a vital role in healing the wounds of history and promoting peace, reconciliation and cooperation across Europe.

"It has contributed to the advancement of freedom, democracy and human rights across the continent and beyond."

EUROPEAN COUNCIL PRESIDENT HERMAN VAN ROMPUY

"Europe got through two civil wars in the 20th century and we have established peace thanks to the European Union. So the European Union is the biggest peacemaker in history."

PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT MARTIN SCHULZ

"The values of human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and the respect for human rights are absolutely fundamental to the European Union. These fundamental values underpin all of the European Union's activities both internally and in our external policies.

"Several nations are freely negotiating accession to the European Union, a sign that despite challenging economic conditions, the European Union is a magnet for stability, prosperity and democracy.

"The EU's principles and values of reconciliation can serve as an inspiration to other regions in the world. From the Balkans to the Caucasus, the EU serves as a beacon for democracy and reconciliation."

MOSHE KANTOR, PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN JEWISH CONGRESS

"The European Jewish communities have felt the many evolutions, revolutions and convulsions on our continent.

"The Nobel Peace Prize sends a very strong message that the European Union's achievements of turning a continent that has known so much bloodshed and conflict now deals with its challenges in a peaceful and tolerant manner."

FORMER FRENCH PRESIDENT VALERY GISCARD D'ESTAING

"It is right that this extraordinary effort that has been accomplished by the Europeans and their leaders to establish a lasting peace on their continent - historically ravaged by war - is rewarded and honored."

CARL DEVOS, POLITICS PROFESSOR AT THE UNIVERSITY OF GHENT

"It's one of the most intelligent awards that has been given and it surely is a celebration and an official recommendation for the importance that the European Union has in keeping world peace, especially in Europe."

CARL BILDT, FOREIGN MINISTER OF SWEDEN (ON TWITTER)

"Excellent that EU is given the prize now. It reminds us all of the key importance of integration for peace, freedom and prosperity."

"Worth noting that Nobel Committee says EU enlargement policies with Balkans and Turkey key part of its contribution to peace."

(Reporting by Reuters newsrooms; Editing by Myra MacDonald)

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Comments (1)
bettysenior wrote:
I agree that the EU has a right to the award of the Nobel Peace Prize but where we have to look at the EU in its entirety to determine whether it is a true worthy recipient. There are pros and cons in this respect and where the EU did not stop wars in other countries happening when with enough political force it could have done so as the leading economic block in the world. Indeed, it stood back with only rhetoric being heard when the Balkans, Iraq and Afghan wars were intimated/during (prior to military offensives commencing) and where hundreds of thousands of innocent people have died since. Is non-action a part cause and the reason why these deaths happened it has to be asked? That is debatable, but where for an institution like the EU to be awarded the peace prize it has to show first, global leadership in this respect. Indeed, all I have seen over the years in the EU is political intervention backed up by military action and not basically for humanitarian intervention per se, more to do with economic vested-interests. A far better candidate would have been someone or some leader who through their direct actions created human stability and peace I would say. There are not many about but there are a few. But again, if the EU forged a new world order that provided a universal and an equitable future life for humankind, the EU would truly be a peace maker on a global scale. Unfortunately with EU politicians predominantly being interested in singularities privately and not the whole when it comes to Europe, this will never happen. The reason, the usual vested-interests of nations and where this blinkered outlook that is entrenched in nationalism is far more dangerous to the world’s stability than anything else. As global natural resources diminish and those to preserve human life as we know it, major conflicts will ensue unless politicians remove this psyche of self-interested preservation above all else. For we are now moving towards a world that will either exist with humankind at its helm at the end of this century, or will not. It is as simple as that and where we have to find something more important to humans than just the corporate derived wealth of nations – a clear recipe in this century it has to be said for human annihilation and where all wars are economic at their base and nothing else. Time is running out therefore and where our politicians and especially the EU, has to see things as they really are and what future is emerging for us all. Therefore if the EU could forge a new all-encompassing paradigm of human change that was not based upon the accumulation of capital wealth but rather on the premise of preserving the human experience, it would certainly be the front-runner for any peace award whether it was the Nobel Prize or any other. But again, we are dreaming, when our political leaders just see things overridingly from a single perspective of national self-interest even though they are all members of the EU. Change this mindset of deep rooted national monistic values and then the EU would be worthy of the peace prize but where unfortunately presently, universal self-preservation always ultimately prevails. Therefore is the EU worthy – yes for the people it is, but not with the personal and private mandates and mindsets of its leaders I have to say. Consequently, all this has to change for our own good and especially for the long-term socio-economic interests and wellbeing of our very young within the EU now. We have only three decades to change this if the truth be known but where our political leaders are oblivious to this.

Dr David Hill
Chief Executive
World Innovation Foundation
United Kingdom & Switzerland

Oct 14, 2012 1:30pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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