The Norwegian Nobel Committee shows how to troll they awarded the peace prize to the EU. It shows that they have a sense of humour giving it to a organisation in a country where they are loathed. Trying the nonsense to change people's views.
Next year's science prize will go to Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel.
Nobel Peace Prize: European Union award deepens divide between europhiles and europhobes
The announcement of the Nobel Peace Prize for the European Union has predictably deepened the divide between europhiles and europhobes.
The irony of the honour being bestowed in the midst of one of the EU's worst crises and at a time of deep rifts between major member states was not lost on anyone, including the EU's biggest supporters.
Cynics said the award is less about celebrating the past legacy of peace but more about delivering positive public relations when the EU needs it most.
The Norwegian committee that awards the prize said the EU would be its next recipient in recognition of its six decades of contributions “to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe”.
Its citation focused on the EU's historical role in the aftermath of the Second World War but many observers are astonished by the decision, given the deep divisions that have emerged in response to the economic crisis of recent years.
The leader of Britain's Conservative Euro MPs Martin Callanan said the announcement came “a little late for an April fools joke”.
He said: “Twenty years ago this prize would have been sycophantic but maybe more justified. Today it is downright out of touch.
”Presumably this prize is for the peace and harmony on the streets of Athens and Madrid. The EU's policies have exacerbated the fallout of the financial crisis and led to social unrest that we haven't seen for a generation.“
The decision came in the week when German chancellor Angela Merkel faced Nazi salutes from angry Greek demonstrators when she visited strife-torn Athens to reject claims that the country was, economically at least, under German control once again.
And the news reminded everyone that the finance minister of Poland warned MEPs during a European Parliament debate last year that the economic and political crises could lead to war within 10 years.
Choosing to give the entire EU the Nobel Peace prize at such a time only undermines the point of the award, Mr Callanan claimed.
”The Nobel Peace Prize was devalued when it was given to newly elected Barack Obama. By giving the prize to the EU, the Nobel committee has undermined the excellent work of the other deserving winners of this prize. The Nobel committee is a little late for an April fools joke.“
But the German president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz - once jokingly likened to a Nazi camp commandant by the then Italian leader Silvio Berlusconi - welcomed the acknowledgement of the EU's role in peace.
”It is a great honour that the EU has won this year's Nobel Peace Prize. This prize is for all EU citizens. We in the European Parliament are deeply touched,“ he said.
”The EU has reunified the continent through peaceful means and brought arch enemies together. This historic act of reunification has been rightfully recognised.“
The values of human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights are ”absolutely fundamental“ to the EU, he said.
”These fundamental values underpin all of the European Union's activities both internally and in our external policies. Several nations are freely negotiating accession to the EU, a sign that despite challenging economic conditions, the EU is a magnet for stability, prosperity and democracy.“
EU principles and values of reconciliation could serve as an inspiration to other regions in the world, he said.
”From the Balkans to the Caucasus, the EU serves as a beacon for democracy and reconciliation.“
Ukip leader Nigel Farage said the EU, far from bringing peace and harmony to Europe, is actually resulting in ”violence and division“ in euro nations like Spain and Greece.
Mr Farage, whose party campaigns for the UK to leave the EU, said: ”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 in capital cities against the troika and the economic prison they have imposed.
“The next stage is to abandon the nation state: the awarding of this prize to the EU brings it into disrepute.
”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.”
Nobel committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland acknowledged that the EU is facing “grave economic difficulties and considerable social unrest”.
But he went on: “The Norwegian Nobel committee wishes to focus on what it sees as the EU's most important result: the successful struggle for peace and reconciliation and for democracy and human rights.
”The stabilising part played by the EU has helped to transform most of Europe from a continent of war to a continent of peace.“
A joint statement from the EU's two institutional figureheads called the award a ”tremendous honour“.
European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council president Herman van Rompuy declared: ”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.
“It is a prize not just for the project and the institutions embodying a common interest, but for the 500 million citizens living in our Union.”
Separately, Mr Barroso rushed to meet the press ahead of the Commission's routine daily briefing, admitting: “I have to say that when I woke up this morning, I did not expect it to be such a good day.
”The Nobel Peace Prize Committee and the international community are now sending a very important message to Europe that the European Union is something very precious, that we should cherish it for the good of Europeans and for the good of the entire world.“
He said no-one should forget that, at its origins, the EU brought together nations emerging from the ruins of the Second World War and ”united them in a project for peace, built on supranational institutions representing the common European interest“.
He added: ”Through its transformative power, the EU was able, starting from six countries, to reunite almost all the European continent.
“The award today by the Nobel Committee shows that in these difficult times the EU remains an inspiration and that the international community needs a strong EU.”
The fact that Norway, home of the prize, has twice rejected membership of the organisation and has flourished outside it, was not mentioned.
Some EU officials said it would have been far better to award the prize to the Union next year, to coincide with ceremonies marking 100 years since the start of the First World War.
The EU is the first organisation, rather than individual or group of individuals, to be awarded the prize, since Medecins Sans Frontieres in 1999.
The next issue to cause rifts with the Union is likely to be the diplomatic issue of which of its figureheads should attend the prize-giving ceremony in Oslo in December.
Sir Graham Watson, leader of the European Liberal Democrats and MEP for the South West, said the award was “an opportunity to remind ourselves of the reasons why we are a member of the EU: to never see a return to the dark days of nationalism that led to the slaughter on the fields of Northern Europe and to the barbaric scenes of the Holocaust. Peace and prosperity - these are the ideals that underpin the EU.”
The EU's achievement of more than 60 years of unbroken peace between “the old tribes of Europe” was easily worthy of the prize, he said.
“Everyone in Britain should be proud because we have played our part in turning Europe from a continent of war and division into one of peace and unity.”
He added: “In a week where the Conservative Party conference was baying for the blood of Eurocrats in Brussels, the Nobel prize committee has reminded us appropriately of the fundamental achievements of the EU.”
Fellow Lib Dem MEP Edward McMillan-Scott (Yorkshire and Humber), formerly a Tory MEP, said: “In the latest survey of 25,000 European citizens by Eurobarometer, spreading democracy and human rights across the world was seen to be the most important task of the EU.
”We must take this award as an encouragement to stand up for our values and redouble our efforts.“
Former prime minister Tony Blair said: ”The European Union is one of the defining concepts of the last half century. Amidst the turmoil of today we would do well to remember that when the Second World War ended Europe was in ruins. What followed has been over 50 years of peace and progress.
“The rationale for Europe today has changed but the ideal of a Europe united and working together remains constant.”
The Foreign Office said in a statement: “This award recognises the EU's historic role in promoting peace and reconciliation in Europe, particularly through its enlargement to Central and Eastern Europe.
”The EU must always strive to preserve and strengthen those achievements for the future.“
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the EU had achieved an ”extraordinary feat“ in the aftermath of the Second World War.
Asked about the award during a live Q&A with voters on BBC Radio Five Live, Mr Clegg said that was the first he had had heard of it.
But he went on: ”I think there are lots of people who are really anti-Brussels or for Brussels, but I think the one thing everyone accepts is given the 20th century was this blood-soaked century in Europe, the fact that countries would trade with each other, talk with each other, rather than fight with each other, was an extraordinary feat of peace over war.
“It's a kind of interesting choice to give it to an acronym rather than a person but the idea of peace in Europe is something we should always celebrate and never forget.”