Good news today from Oslo for the embattled European Union. The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded it the 2012 peace prize for contributions over more than six decades to “peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights.” Note the absence of “prosperity.”
José Manuel Barroso, president of the European commission, immediately tweeted:
It is a great honour for the whole of the #EU, all 500 million citizens, to be awarded the 2012 #Nobel Peace prize.
— Jose Manuel Barroso (@BarrosoEU) October 12, 2012
Twitter immediately lit up with jokes about how the roughly $1.2 million in prize money would be spent. Some speculated it would pay for the wine at the celebratory peace prize party, while another suggested Germany would grab the cash and refuse to share it with Greece.
From the Daily Telegraph’s Benedict Brogan:
Breaking: #Nobel Prize committee unwittingly sparks WWIII as debt-ridden eurozone countries battle it out for the prize money.
— Richard Hall (@_RichardHall) October 12, 2012
Thorbørn Jagland, head of the Norwegian committee, justified the award by explaining it was partly to encourage Europe to steer clear of the “extremism and nationalism” (paywall) that led to major conflicts of the past. He said:
This is, in a way, a message to Europe to secure everything we have achieved and move forward.
As for the dramatic economic crisis that threatens the very existence of a European Union, Jagland said:
We don’t have a position on how to solve the economic crisis, but we believe it will be important to solve it and that European unity can be kept so that Europe can move forward.