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The Nobel Peace Prize Committee Likes to Stir Up Trouble, but the EU has Done Well

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It is such a shame that Twitter has no colour definition for its tweets. The news that the Nobel Peace Prize Committee has awarded the 2012 prize to the European Union is turning the Europhobe community puce with rage.

To read the torrent of abuse pouring on the heads of the worthy Norwegians who judge the EU to be a force for peace in the world is quite hilarious but sadly monochrome on Twitter. Like the best of Colonel Blimps they splutter with purple rage and fury at the thought of their hated, loathed EU being lauded this way.

They point out that the Nobel peace prize was given to Henry Kissinger - actually it was a joint award to him and the North Vietnamese foreign minister who had negotiated an end to the Vietnam war. One Europhobe exploded that the nuclear bomb should have got a peace prize more than the EU.

Yet the plain fact is that after a first half of a 20th century plunged into permanent internal warfare, following on sanguinary centuries in the previous few hundred years, Europe has
found some magic recipe to bring about peace between its warring nations. To be sure, Nato has been an important element in this but the European Community, followed by the European Union, has been the locus where nations have had to subsume some (not all but many) of
their national passions and rivalries into a commonweal.

The Europe I was a student in had half the continent under communist tyranny and three nations - Spain, Portugal and Greece - languishing under rightwing dictatorship. There was no war but there was no full peace as core freedoms were denied until those countries could join the community of European nations and live by the obligations of democracy, rule of law and open borders that EU membership entails.

Counties like Ireland and Britain found they could live as co-equals thanks to common membership of the European Union and put behind the centuries of hate and violence that disfigured their relationship.

Now the western Balkan states like Serbia, Kosovo, Macedonia and Albania all set store by EU membership in order finally to turn their conflict-ridden corner of Europe into a region of peace.

What upsets our own League of Anti-EU Loyalists is that the Nobel Peace prize has been awarded by the Norwegians, of all people. Norway is held up by the Better Off Out groupies as the model non-EU but European nation Britain could become. They appear not to know that Norway implements more EU directives more fully than the UK does and like Switzerland is a member of the Schengen area and thus welcomes many more visitors and tourists under the Schengen visa scheme than Britain with its anti-immigrant pathology and fears.

The Nobel Peace Prize committee likes to stir up trouble. Last year it awarded the Peace prize to Liu Xaibo, the pro-democracy Chinese activist. Like today's Eurosceps, the Chinese media and dominant political went mad with rage denouncing the Nobel prize committee for a terrible decision.

No doubt the Daily Mail and Telegraph would like to consign the EU to the gulag which is where the Chinese peace laureate Liu Xiabo now languishes. The response of David Cameron and William Hague to the award of the Nobel peace prize to Liu was to refuse to mention his name in public or publicly call for his release in deference to their friends in Beijing.

Perhaps they can adopt a same policy and just pretend the EU is not a force of peace and the Nobel award can simply be placed in a political oubliette and not mentioned in public.

Meanwhile the panjandrums of the EU can now fight amongst themselves to decide which one of the grands fromages - the President of the Council, the Commission or the Parliament - can go to Oslo to receive the prize.

A better recipient would be an 18-year-old unemployed Greek or Spaniard or Brit to remind Europe's ruling classes that while they have achieved peace they are still unable to rise to
the challenge of providing jobs, incomes and social justice.