(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: