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Europe’s Nobel Wake-Up Call

MADRID – In a decision criticized and praised in equal measure, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded this year’s Peace Prize to the European Union in recognition of its contributions “to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe” over the past six decades. But, to what extent is Europe preoccupied with “perpetual peace” at the expense of its current, vastly different ailments? Is this award a swan song –confirmation of the moribund state of the European project, as the 2001 Nobel Prize was for the United Nations?

In announcing the prize, the committee explained how “the work of the EU represents fraternity between nations.” While it acknowledged that “the EU is currently undergoing grave economic difficulties and considerable social unrest,” it highlighted the EU’s role as a beacon of hope – a democratic anchor, particularly meaningful for peoples who have lived through the horrors of dictatorships.