By Nayan Bhatnagar:
In a glittering ceremony on October 12, 2012 in Oslo, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the coveted “Nobel Peace Prize”, unexpectedly, to the European Union (EU). Yes, you read it right; the EU has been awarded the prize ‘for fostering peace on a continent long ravaged by war’. The award was much admired at the EU headquarters in Brussels and by pro-EU leaders across Europe, but it was ridiculed by those who consider the EU to be an elitist organisation that erodes national identities.
Although this is not the first time that an organisation has bagged the prize, so far, twenty organisations including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (awarded in 2007), International Atomic Energy Agency (2005), United Nations (2001) and International Campaign to Ban Landmines (1997) have been awarded the coveted prize. However, in the backdrop of ongoing debt crisis in Europe, it is probably not the best time to bestow EU with the prize. The economic crisis has fuelled tensions between the northern and southern European countries. Today, millions of people, especially in countries like Spain and Greece are protesting on the streets against tax hikes and job-cuts.
The announcement was not well-received in these countries as the citizens blame Germany and other northern EU countries for austerity measures including higher taxes and job-cuts being faced by them, in order to revive their economies. The EU’s financial problems have been continuing since the past three years, the region is witnessing slow growth and almost twenty-five million people do not have jobs. A prize at this point of time is almost making a mockery of the whole situation as it won’t do anything to revive the economic situation. It might boost the morale of the European leaders but this is something they don’t require.
The news has surprised many and the social media is abuzz with comments and remarks. The news is trending on Twitter with millions pouring their reactions:Â Noted film-maker Shekhar Kapur rightly said, “Nobel Peace Prize obviously has no faith in Europeans if it’s congratulating them for not killing each other for so long”. Another famous media personality, Suhel Seth joked, “Now that the EU has won the Nobel Peace Prize, perhaps their debt will be hugely reduced with the prize money”. Another interesting tweet went like, “I predict that next year the Nobel Peace Prize will be won by…the Nobel Peace Prize Awards Committee”. The parodies just don’t seem to end. One said that Antarctica should bag the prize for being a continent that has always been peaceful. Another ran, “Next year, the Nobel peace prize will be awarded to planet earth for not self-imploding”. Further, another tweet made a point by saying that the EU’s aggregate arms exports are enormous and many are sold to developing countries. Many people on Twitter also believe that Pakistan’s brave fourteen-year-old activist Malala Yousafzai should have been considered for the award.
The views expressed on social networking sites against the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s decision, clearly depicts the discontent and disapproval of the people. It would be wrong to attribute the peace in Europe to the efforts of multilateral institutions like the EU. The Eurozone is in shambles, EU would emerge as a winner only after it is successful in reviving the economy.