EU wins nobel(Image source) My instinct says no it doesn't. I find it difficult to imagine such a prize awarded to a 'non-person' as such and feel there were far more deserving bods out there (hundreds of them probably not even nominated). Having said that, there are precedents for organisations rather than individuals winning the award, eg. The Red Cross, so that particular moan is a lost cause.

These arguments aren't, however: surely, human rights in Europe owe more to the European Convention of Human Rights than the EU. And, IMHO, post-'45 peace is due largely to NATO and the Marshall plan, not the European Union specifically. Apart from that, doesn't speaking of peace in Europe over the last sixty years rather ignore the conflicts which have actually occurred: eg. the wars in former Yugoslavia that took place over those ten bloody years from 1990?

'Europe' is not the same thing as the 'European Union'. I do not believe that the EU should be mistaken for something other than it is, ie. a trading organisation. Of course, sixty years of peace and human rights in most of Europe is absolutely an achievement worthy of celebration. But I do not believe it is right (nor accurate) for the European Union to be given all the credit. 

Strictly speaking, the EU has only existed since 1993. Its (main) predecessor, the European Economic Community (established by treaty in 1957, twelve years after WWII), was primarily a trading organisation for some (but not all) of the countries on the western side of the Cold War.  An important entity without a doubt, but certainly not the sole or even leading source of human rights and peace in Europe post-'45. That's my opinion anyway and one also voiced HERE, so I'm relieved to know I'm not the only one thinking it.

Does this award diminish the prestige of the prize – and the achievements of those who truly deserve it? I think it does, but there are many who would not agree and I have had some really good debates on the subject today. The arguments are convincing on both sides. In any case, because of its political nature, the Nobel Peace Prize has been the subject of controversies for most of its history, so no change there...

A comment found HERE reads as follows: 'Let’s just take a look at the sole criterion for the awarding of the prize – it is awarded to the person (or institution) who "shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses." I don’t know about any peace congresses instigated by the EU, they’ve done nothing to reduce standing armies as far as I know (indeed hasn’t the EU been integral in bolstering armies through the Eurofighter project?). And fraternity between nations?! We may not have had a war in Europe for a while but there has rarely been such animosity between nations in recent times. The riots in Greece against perceived German selfishness are just one demonstration of that. The EU is tearing itself apart, with the single currency one of the biggest mistakes of the last few decades. To award it the Nobel Peace Prize makes a mockery of the whole institution.'

Another good argument against awarding the prize to the EU can be found HERE: "Want to trace the origins of European peace? Read Article 1 of the North Atlantic Treaty (NATO) of 1949, which calls for members to settle international disputes “by peaceful means.” Article 2 committed members to maintain a “free” political system. This was backed up by military muscle, placing an enormous strain on budgets, including Canada’s. NATO succeeded not only in ensuring former European belligerents were allied, but fended off the Soviet threat. The year NATO should have been given the prize was 1991, when the West won the Cold War.

Except that would have meant giving the Nobel Peace Prize to NATO militaries, with the U.S. military earning the biggest share in it, something the leftish Norwegian Nobel Committee could not countenance."

Even the former (and laughable, I have to say) British foreign secretary, Malcolm Rifkind, said, "If they want to give the prize for preserving peace in Europe they should divide it between NATO and the E.U. Until the end of the Cold War, it was NATO more than anyone else that kept the peace.” I can't argue with that, even though it's Malcolm Rifkind and nothing would give me more pleasure than to call him an idiot yet again.

On the other side of the fence, Xenia Dormandy, a senior fellow at Chatham House focusing on U.S. foreign policy who happened to be in Brussels on Friday believes that the reward was entirely justified. “There’s nobody that can make a credible argument to say the E.U. hasn’t created peace on a continent that hadn’t seen peace in centuries,” Dormandy said. “The idea that there would be a conflict between E.U. member states today—we don’t even think about it.” This is perfectly true, but I do not believe that the EU is wholely responsible for that, if at all.

The Guardian has published an excellent article on all the reasons why the prize was merited. Thank you to Rebecca for sharing it with me. Here it is. I'm sure you'll agree that it is food for thought:

Nobel peace prize: 10 things the EU has done for us

As critics ponder why the 2012 Nobel peace prize was awarded to the EU, we look at ten ways in which it has improved our lives
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At a time when Europe seems on the brink of falling apart, when Europeans are taking to the streets to express their wrath towards other partners in the union and when mainstream politicians in the UK are looking for a way out of the club, a decision by a group of Norwegian intellectuals to prompt the question: what has the EU done for us? We take a look at some of the more positive impacts the EU has had on our lives.
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Peace
The origins of peace in Europe lie in the alliance made between France and Germany t gave birth to the European Coal and Steel Community, a forerunner of the EU. The ECSC was first conceived by Robert Schuman, the French foreign minister in 1950 "to make war not only unthinkable but materially impossible". The continent has indeed enjoyed lasting peace. International security remains one of the EU's top priorities, not just in Europe but the rest of the world.
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Single market
The single market is probably the EU's single biggest achievement after peace, though it's arguably hard to separate the two. It guarantees the free movement of people, goods, services and capital. Apart from the unifying effect of this set-up on European citizens, it has provided the opportunity for them to travel, live, work, study and do business across the union, and to enjoy a wide range of competitively-priced services and goods.
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Single currency
The eurozone was established in 1999 and is made up of 17 member states. Despite the threats it has faced in recent years, it is likely to remain a central part of Europeans' everyday life. Most Europeans see the benefits it brings to them as travellers - not having to convert moneywhile away on holiday or business. But its main practical benefit has to do with economic growth. It has helped to strengthen the EU's international standing and improve integration within the union itself.
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Easier, passport-free travel
Since the 15 member countries which signed up to the Schengen agreement abandoned their border posts, it is possible to travel freely and easily not just to Tuscany and Dordogne, but across huge swaths of the union. Driving licenses are valid across the continent, while the single currency standardised trains and the fact that holidaymakers are fully covered for emergency hospital treatment in other EU countries have all encouraged freedom of movement.
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Foreign aid
The EU accounts for half of all global aid. Last year, it donated €53.1bn (£42.8bn). The European commission by itself is the world's second largest bilateral donor after the US, providing €12.3bn of external aid in 2011. Aid constitutes about 9% of the EU budget. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's peer review of EU aid in 2012 found that the body was a "formidable player in global development" that had taken "positive steps to make the programme more effective and increase its impact" since its previous review in 2007. The European commission is ranked the fifth most transparent donor in the world out of 72, above every EU member state except the UK and the Netherlands.
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Cheaper and safer flights
Increased competition between airlines operating within the member states introduced in the 1980s and 90s has provided us with cheaper flights to a much wider range of destinations than ever before. Flights are also safer as a result of tightened regulations and improvements in air traffic control.
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Democracy and human rights
Brussels sets standards of human rights, democracy and the rule of law to which countries must adhere if they want to be part of the European Union. In practical terms these guidelines have had a particular impact on the countries of southern, central and eastern Europe, which joined after they emerged from dictatorships with often underdeveloped civil societies.
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Equal opportunities
The EU has tackled discrimination on the basis of gender, race, age and disability with a range of different directives which have had their biggest impact on the labour market.
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Cheaper telephone calls
In the 1990s the EU liberalised the telecommunications markets. That together with new technology has led to considerably lower prices. The cost of international telephone calls has fallen by more than 80% in the last 30 years, while mobile phone roaming charges have also been significantly reduced.
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Improved air and water quality
Member states have demonstrated their own appetite for protecting the environment, but they would arguably not have done so much had pressure not been applied by the EU via legislation to improve the quality of rivers, seas and beaches, and reduce acid rain and sulphur emissions.'
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Voilà.
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The more I read and the more I turn over the whole debate in my mind, the more difficult it becomes. But, up until now, I still believe that if any 'non-person' organisation should be awarded such a prestigious prize for Peace, it is NATO, NOT the EU.
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But that's just me...
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