Monday, 15 October 2012

European Barometer and the Nobel Peace Price to the European Union

The Norwegian Nobel Committee composed by Mr. Thorbjørn Jagland, Chairman, Ms Kaci Kullmann Five, Ms Inger-Marie Ytterhorn, Ms Berit Reiss-Andersen and Mr. Gunnar Stålsett assigned the 2012 Nobel Price for Peace to the European Union.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Price to the European Union (EU) for the contributions made for over six decades by the union and its forerunners to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe. 
"The work of the EU represents "fraternity between nations", and amounts to a form of the "peace congresses" to which Alfred Nobel refers as criteria for the Peace Prize in his 1895 will." the Committee said. In the inter-war years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee made several awards to persons who were seeking reconciliation between Germany and France.

Since 1945, that reconciliation has become a reality. The dreadful suffering in World War II demonstrated the need for a new Europe. Over a seventy-year period, Germany and France had fought three wars. Today war between Germany and France is unthinkable. This shows how, through well-aimed efforts and by building up mutual confidence, historical enemies can become close partners.

Signature of the Treaty of Rome establishing the European Economic Community on 25 March 1957

Mr. Thorbjørn Jagland, Chairman of the Committee, former Norwegian Prime Minister and current Secretary General of the Council of Europe was one of the greater supporter for the decision to award the Price to the European Union.

The Price brings renewed faith in the European project in a period where the institution is negatively affected by the heavy economic crisis hitting a number of Member States. A proof of this social and economic distress is stated in the Standard Euro Barometer, a survey established in 1973, published twice a year, consisting of approximately 1000 face-to-face interviews in each member state, which reports Europeans citizens perceptions of the current situation in the EU. 
The economic situation, for instance, is mentioned by 54% of respondents, as the main issue facing the European Union. However, this score is 5 percentage points below the level recorded in autumn 2011. The state of public finances in the Member States, mentioned by more than a third of respondents, still ranks in second place (34%, +3 percentage points). Unemployment, in third place, has recorded the most significant increase since autumn 2011 (+6 to 32%). Inflation completes this leading quartet of important issues facing the European Union (15%, -2). 

Data excerpt from the Standard Eurobarometer - 2012 Spring Edition 

This important price could revitalize the European Union spirit and  reduce the growing  critics arising at national level. The current economic and political situation at global level demand new commitments for the European institutions. The reform of the Stability plan goes in this direction and has the potentials to give more political power to a body mainly driven, so far,  by economic interests.