|contributed by nelson|
EU nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
The Nobel Peace Prize, attributed every year in Norway, is having a list of nominations being compiled at the moment. Almost every year these nominations - and the winners - are surrounded by controversy (past winners have included Yasser Arafat, Jimmy Carter, and David Trimble). Not only individuals are recognised by the award: the United Nations was granted the award in 2001, and the Red Cross has received it several times.
This year, a nomination is being put forward for the European Union (EU) as an institution. The significance of the expansion this year of the union from 15 to 25 members, bringing into its fold ex-communist states, has been highlighted as the best example of the impact of the Union as a peace-promoting institution.
The EU has its roots in the post-WW2 climate, and since its very start it was intended to provide a mechanism to integrate its member-states to a point where war amongst them would be unfeasible. It is true that today, war between two EU countries would be a completely unthinkable event, and that the economic and legal integration and co-operation between member-states cause solutions to problems to be found mostly through debate and trying to reach the best solutions for all.
Other opinions about peace in Europe abound, especially the one that sets NATO as the main force behind the achievement. According to the most state-centric, militaristic theories, it has been NATO and the common threat from the USSR that has caused such a long period of stability on the west of the continent.
If that were true, though, it would not explain why, since the demise of communism in Easter Europe, NATO has been surrounded with existential problems, while the EU keeps working as an engine for co-operation and integration. In fact, the EU model keeps providing solutions for potentially conflictuous situations, be them trade, resources, or environment, while NATO members Greece and Turkey (the latter not an EU member) have never concealed their mutual distaste and potential for conflict over the decades.
Of course, individual governments will blame the EU when a decision is not 100% the best choice for themselves - conveniently ignoring the fact that they participate on a "best for everyone" exercise that also benefits them. (Or does anyone really want to go to war/embargo over fishing quotas?)
So, in a continent with such a turbulent history of wars, one institution more than any other has allowed peace and prosperity to such a level that most of its citizens have never felt a war "in the skin". It is a tribute to those who fought in previous wars that we now manage to reason and co-operate with each other. Let it also be like that to the newcomer states. And let us recognise the importance of the EU by awarding it the Nobel Peace Prize.