The latest Nobel Peace Prize award may come as a surprise to many people, especially those of us who live in Europe. According to the BBC, "The European Union has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for six decades of work in advancing peace in Europe."
During the last century Europe experienced two significant World Wars. Ten years was wasted fighting and destroying large chunks of Europe. Rebuilding after each War was long and hard. There have been smaller wars around the world plus civil unrest in some countries since but all out war has been kept under lock and key for the last 60 plus years.
In awarding the EU, the Nobel Peace Prize committee said that the EU had enabled Europe to become a peaceful continent rather than one of War.
Currently the EU faces austerity measures, gloom and doom plus many ordinary citizens seeing a down turn in their financial situation. It will be a testing time for all EU nations. Most people do not need reminding that Germany was at the forefront on the 20th Century confrontations. In the 21st Century many Europeans see Germany as once more trying to conquer and rule Europe, albeit this time with its economic policies.
Even today as the IMF Head Christine Lagarde has asked that Greece be allowed more time to implement strict austerity measures, Germany has refused. Germany have insisted that Greece sticks to the bail out deal which was agreed. With the German economy less bouyant than in reacent years it is easy to see the reason for the German stance.
Nobel committee president Thorbjoern Jagland made the award and admitted that the EU faces a tough time. He concentrated on the EUs reconciliation work in the post second world war era and currently in the Balkan countries. His words and the award have delighted senior EU officials but the people may feel differently.
We tend to agree with those who think this EU award is a joke. The timing could not be worse. Europe looks set to implode once more. People such as Merkel may like to think that they have been recognised but they live in cloud cuckoo land. With people suffering austerity measures future conflicts may be more inclined to be civil rather than national wars. Spain and Greece have experienced violent protests and they are not alone.
Perhaps the timing is strange as there are so few candidates suitable for the peace prize this year. Then again maybe it is to give the troubled EU a welcome morale lift. Perhaps it is a late April Fools joke?
The last time an organisation was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize outright was Medicines Sans Frontieres, which won in 1999. Now that one we can understand. The EU right now is tearing Europe apart.