Nobel Prize for a Disunited Union
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2012
Expert on European Issues
Source: Khabaronline News Website
Translated By: Iran Review.Org
Awarding this year’s Nobel Peace prize to the European Union last Friday has not only taken many European print media by surprise, but also proved existing doubts about the political nature of the prize. Although the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the German president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, welcomed the news, doubts about political nature of the Nobel Peace prize have been there since it was awarded to the United States President Barack Obama in 2009, (Of course, it had been already given to the former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in 1973, which was considered a controversial move even at that time). According to the Nobel Committee officials, Obama had been considered qualified to win the prize because of his viewpoint about the need to establish a world free from nuclear weapons. However, the four years of his presidency have proven in practice that he has not only failed to take any steps for reducing nuclear arsenal of the United States, but has been also unable to make Israel committed to Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), or to prevent other countries from selling nuclear submarines to this country.
From this viewpoint, the Nobel Peace prize awarded to the European Union (EU) has turned out to be a challenging issue. According to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, 27 member states of the European Union have been considered qualified to win the prize due to their support for peace, reconciliation, and spread of democracy and human rights in Europe. The committee has also announced that Europe has gradually transformed from a continent of war to a continent of peace. But is this really true?
The present European Union is entangled in a dire economic crisis which has increased unemployment in the EU countries like Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland to record highs. On the other hand, dissatisfaction of the European people with the status quo and the social movement of 99-percenters have also reached its peaks. Higher emphasis on radical nationalistic and rightwing policies, promoting Islamophobia and insult to the beliefs and tenets of Muslims, in addition to increased export of weapons to dictatorial regimes of the Middle East, and sending weapons for the Syrian insurgents instead of trying to find a peaceful solution to the country’s crisis have been among major steps taken by Germany, France, and Britain as three big powers of the Union during recent years. In view of the above facts, the issue of awarding the Nobel Peace prize to the Union can be discussed from two angles:
1. Europe’s role in promoting peace and democracy outside Europe; and
2. The role of Europe in promoting peace and democracy across the Union.
• Role of Europe in Promoting Peace and Democracy in Other Parts of the World
The European Union has not been able to play a substantial role in promoting international peace in view of the above facts and has sometimes been even spearheading a warmongering policy. Examples of EU’s warmongering moves include:
1. The powerful presence of the European Union in overseas wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: Most members of the EU and all its important members have taken part in two US-sponsored wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
2. Increased supply of weapons by important members of the Union to dictatorial regimes in the Middle East: Sending ample weapons to Saudi Arabia by Germany and selling nuclear submarines by Berlin to Israel are two instances.
3. Proclaiming the beginning of war against Libya by Britain and France through financial and spiritual support of Germany.
4. Failure of the EU in preventing Israel’s violence in Gaza Strip and Lebanon;
5. Failure of the Quartet Group in establishing peace in the Middle East;
6. Increased hostility and escalation of sanctions against Iran instead of recourse to diplomatic language;
7. Supporting dictatorial regimes in the Middle East: It seems that during political developments in the Middle East, known as the ‘Arab Spring’, the EU has been forced to take apparently democratic stances though its members were actually discontent with such development from their very beginning. At the same time, the EU has practically ignored the political and social developments in Bahrain and has been blatantly cooperating with countries which are ruled by dictatorial regimes and enjoy heinous human rights records. The most important measure that the EU has taken vis-à-vis developments in Bahrain has been paying lip service by outwardly protesting to Manama regime’s treatment of demonstrators while practically taking steps to enhance cooperation with the Persian Gulf state.
• Europe’s Role in Promoting Peace and Democracy across the Union
Although they claim that the European Union has played an important part in promoting peace and democracy in Europe, it seems that the EU has been formed on the basis of animosity to other political blocs. Such a basis may prove very fragile under the critical economic conditions which prevail right now and may even lead the Union toward total collapse. The EU has shown that it is weak in decision-making due to plural views of members and differences among large-scale interests of the European countries. As a result, it has not been able to protect peace and security even across Europe. Examples of this failure include:
1. Increased terrorist movements by radial rightwing elements and rising popularity of radical rightwing parties;
2. Increased application of policies indicating the Union’s intolerance toward other countries’ policies;
3. Breakout of the Balkan War: The European Union could not prevent breakout of that war and the subsequent bloodshed in the continent. The memories of the Balkan War, which claimed more than 100,000 lives in the 1990s is still alive in the minds of the European people and the entire world. The bloody conflicts could be brought to an end only through the United States military intervention;
4. Increased discontent, opposition, and conflicts within the EU: At internal level and due to dire economic conditions, all the member states of the European Union are now awash with daily demonstrations, protests as well as widespread industrial actions;
5. Resurgence of independence-seeking and nationalistic tendencies among both powerful and weak members of the EU: The ongoing economic crisis of the European Union has caused countries like Britain to take more independent positions from the EU and some of them are even talking about breaking off from the Union. The secessionist tendencies are also on the rise among weaker members of the EU such as Greece. As a result, for the first time in the history of the EU, there have been discussions about how countries which are not willing to be part of the EU anymore can possibly break off. It seems that due to increased economic power of Germany, many other members of the EU are willing to withdraw from the common currency, euro, and get rid of the EU’s economic policies.
Given the above facts and track records, the question is why this prize has been awarded to the European Union?
It seems that due to gradual strength of divergent views, especially among large parts of the European people and public opinion, the EU officials have been looking for a resort and a suitable ground to bolster convergence among the EU members in a bid to increase its dwindling legitimacy. This prize, therefore, can at least repair the EU’s legitimacy among the European people and bolster convergent tendencies. On the other hand, however, granting the Nobel Peace prize to the EU under the present circumstances has further strengthened doubts about the political nature of the prize.http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/Nobel-Prize-for-a-Disunited-Union.htm