Pro- and anti-European Union voices react to Nobel Peace Prize

European Union flags fly in front of the European Commission headquarters in Brussels.

Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize for actions he hadn’t yet taken. This year’s winner, the European Union, won the prize for actions it took long ago. Reactions were mixed. Here’s what several prominent Europeans told Metro:

European Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding: “The European Union is the biggest peace project in the world. For the first time in the history of mankind nations have voluntarily decided to share sovereignty in order to be strong together. The European project is not held together by military force, but by the rule of law and fundamental rights for 500 million citizens.”

Nigel Farage, leader of UKIP (United Kingdom Independence party, which is critical fo the EU): “You only have to open your eyes to see the increasing violence and division within the EU which is caused by the Euro project. Spain is on the verge of a bailout, with senior military figures warning that the Army may have to intervene in Catalonia. In Greece people are starving and abandoning their children through desperate poverty, and never a week goes by that we don’t see riots and protests. The last attempt in Europe to impose a new flag, currency and nationality on separate states was called Yugoslavia. The EU is repeating the same tragic mistake. Rather than bring peace and harmony, the EU will cause insurgency and violence. The awarding of this prize to the EU brings it into disrepute.”

Fredrik Erixon, Director, European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE), Brussels
: “The EU, as a project, is a very worthy recipient, but the big achievements happened 30 years ago. Giving the EU the Nobel Peace Prize now seems like a forced selection, almost ridiculous. The EU’s big contribution has been to prevent war and to create cooperation, primarily through the expansion to Eastern Europe, but that expansion isn’t happening now. And when it comes to collaborating with the Middle East, the EU hasn’t been as successful. Right now it’s at a stage where it can’t really do a lot more.”


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