Daily Israel Report

Nobel Peace Prize Goes to European Union

The Nobel Committee gives the 2012 Peace Prize to the European Union for contributing to “peace and reconciliation.”
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 10/12/2012, 12:51 PM

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton
AFP/File

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has announced that the Peace Prize for 2012 will go to the European Union.

“The union and its forerunners have for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe,” said chairman Thorbjorn Jagland.

“Over a 70-year period, Germany and France had fought three wars. Today war between Germany and France is unthinkable,” Jagland said. “This shows how, through well-aimed efforts and by building up mutual confidence, historical enemies can become close partners.”

The prize also is a reminder of what could be lost “if the union is allowed to collapse,” he noted. The EU is facing a crisis as some countries sink financially, causing economic problems for others in the union and creating tension over bailout terms.

European Parliament President Martin Schultz said on Twitter that he is “deeply touched” and “honored” at the victory. “Reconciliation is what the E.U. is about,” he wrote. “It can serve as inspiration. The E.U. is a unique project that replaced war with peace, hate with solidarity.”

Other candidates for the prize included Maggie Gobran, a Coptic Christian nun who works with children in the slums of Cairo, the Russian human rights group Memorial, and activist bloggers in the Arab world.

Previous Nobel Peace Prize winners include former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Mohamed ElBaradei of the UN’s IAEA nuclear watchdog agency and U.S. President Barack Obama, who was given the prize just one year into his term for having “created a new climate in international politics.”

In 1994, the prize went to then-Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin, Shimon Peres, and then-Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat for “their efforts to create peace in the Middle East.” The peace process later exploded as the PA launched a terrorist onslaught in which over 1,200 Israelis were killed and many thousands were wounded.