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A Peaceful Europe

  • October 16th, 2012
  • Posted by 7thmin

eu-flagg-eu.jpgThe Norwegian Nobel Committee announced it was giving the Peace Prize for 2012 to the European Union, for is “successful struggle for peace and reconciliation and for democracy and human rights.”

COOPERATIVE AND LIBERAL SPIRIT

nobel-flag.jpgThe gesture registered the keystone rationale of the EU for over half a century, that its cooperative and liberal spirit would at last overcome the uncivilised tendencies of its past.

The 27 member countries, sharing one economy, trading freely, their citizens moving about unfettered, collaborating on very many aspects of government, and presenting a united face to the world, would  not again be resorting to war among themselves.

VESTIGES OF WAR, AND CONTINUING WANT

anzac-tyne-cot.jpgEverywhere there are vestiges of warfare, not least the sorrowful, lonely, teeming graveyards of Flanders a day-trip from Brussels.

Europe in 2012 still struggles; to manage economic recession and financial crisis; to keep the peace amid deep social tensions, still, over economic hardship and injustice; or the unresolved divisions over race, ethnicity, religion and immigration.

REWARDS

The Nobel Committee’s point, is that the great effort has been made and is bringing its rewards.

The EU at home trades on reason: a reasoned approach to husbandry of the environment;  to cultivating technology and new industries; to social welfare and wellbeing; rights of citizens, learning and  culture.

ENDING BARBARITY

In the face of barbarity it acts concertedly, sometimes not with enough impact, but always implacably pushing for a peace; its interventions in the Balkans region outside the EU borders, since the warfare of the 1990s, have followed that straight line.

To the world, the EU is there to back peaceful solutions where they can be had; to explicitly defend rights of individuals, and democratic government; to nurture respect for the rule of international law; provide relief for those in distress, and in economic dealings, provide cooperative help for help for the developing nations.

CATCALLING, AND A RESPONSE

Yet there has been catcalling over this prize that has gone to the 500-million citizens of the Union, calling it a struggling enterprise.

barroso-strasbourg-19-june-07.jpgJose Manuel Barroso (picture), President of the European Commission, treated to an adversarial interview on British radio (BBC World Service, 14.10.12), said  the EU had been honoured.

On the current crisis in the economy: “Europe has been providing the solutions to crisis, not creating the problem … Countries outside Europe have exactly the same problems .”

On the last war in Europe, in the Balkans: The EU worked “very closely with our American friends”, applying pressure for a peace; in  2012 Slovenia has entered the European Union, Croatia will join next year, and other states will follow.

The European Union, he said, remained the “best hope for a peaceful continent and an inspiration to other parts of the world.”

Pictures
Nobel medal, TV-Novosti, Moscow

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