Crisis-torn EU wins 2012 Nobel Peace Prize


The Nobel Peace Prize was Friday awarded to the European Union, an institution wracked by the euro crisis but credited with bringing more than half a century of peace to a continent ripped apart by two world wars. “The union and its forerunners have for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe,” Nobel Committee president Thorbjoern Jagland said in Oslo. Reactions to the prize, which caught many by surprise at a time when the union of 27 states is beleaguered by a severe financial crisis, were divided, with equal measures of praise and criticism. For the men of the hour, European Union President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, the award was “a tremendous honour”.
“This prize is the strongest possible recognition of the deep political motives behind our Union: the unique effort by ever more European states to overcome war and divisions and to jointly shape a continent of peace and prosperity,” they said in a statement. The prize, they said, belonged to “all the 500 million citizens living in our union.” However, the Twittersphere was aflame with strong online reactions to the Nobel Committee’s pick at a time when European solidarity is facing its most daunting challenge in decades amid deep rifts between a south drowning in debt and a wealthier north only reluctantly coming to the rescue. “Anti-austerity protests in Portugal, Spain, Greece, Italy & France, Nationalism, Fascism, unemployment and poverty. Yeah EU deserves it!” @AnonOpGreece said on Twitter. Poland’s Lech Walesa, who won the 1983 Nobel Peace Prize for leading the country’s anti-communist movement, said he was “unpleasantly surprised” by the choice, and British eurosceptics also reacted with dismay.