News / Europe

    European Union Wins Nobel Peace Prize

    Selah Hennessy
    The European Union was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for its promotion of peace, democracy and human rights over the past six decades. The committee says it wanted to highlight the union's triumphs at a time of economic difficulty. But, the award's announcement has led some critics to question the EU's record on human rights.

    Nobel Prize Committee Chairman Thorbjoern Jagland says the European Union has helped turn the continent from war to peace.

    "The European Union is currently undergoing grave economic difficulties and considerable social unrest. The Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to focus on what it sees as the European Union's most important result - the successful struggle for peace and reconciliation and for democracy and human rights," said Jagland.

    During the first half of the 20th century, millions of Europeans were killed in two world wars that tore the continent apart. At the close of the Second World War in 1945, many felt something had to be done to stop such bloodshed from happening again.

    The European Union has helped fulfill that aim. Today 27 countries are member states - 17 of them united in a single currency, the euro.
    Borders between nations have been opened up to allow free movement for EU citizens. And countries that were once violent enemies now work together for common goals.

    Organizations Awarded Nobel Peace Prize

    • 2012 European Union
    • 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
    • 2006 Grameen Bank
    • 2005 International Atomic Energy Agency
    • 2001 United Nations
    • 1999 Doctors Without Borders (MSF)
    • 1997 International Campaign to Ban Landmines
    • 1995 Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs
    • 1988 United Nations Peacekeeping Forces
    • 1985 International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War
    • 1981 Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
    • 1977 Amnesty International
    • 1969 International Labor Organization
    • 1965 United Nations Children's Fund
    • 1963 International Committee of the Red Cross (also won in 1944, 1917)
    • 1963 League of Red Cross Societies
    • 1954 Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
    • 1947 Friends Service Council
    • 1947 American Friends Service Committee
    • 1938 Nansen International Office for Refugees
    • 1910 Permanent International Peace Bureau
    • 1904 Institute of International Law

    source: Nobelprize.org
    European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said Friday the union has been the world's biggest peacemaking institution.

    "We are all very proud, and 'we,' that means not only the EU leaders but all the European citizens from this generation and the former generations," said Van Rompuy.

    The award comes at a time when the European Union is mired in economic woes, and national governments are wrangling over the future of the euro. Poverty and social unrest are growing in many member countries, with soaring unemployment rates a growing concern and government spending cuts hitting many of Europe's poorest the most.

    David Diaz-Jogeix is from the rights group Amnesty International. He says there is often a lack of political will to address human rights issues within the European Union. He highlighted what Amnesty sees as some notable shortfalls.

    "Mainly it's a lack of political will to address severe, entrenched discrimination against Roma. This is the largest minority, and they are subject to structural discrimination. We have also seen large episodes of Islamophobia. There's discrimination against lesbian and gay people in many parts of the European Union. We have seen an 'EU Fortress' attitude to prevent people from coming into the European Union that has an impact on refugees and also asylum-seekers," said Diaz-Jogeix.

    The peace prize is one of five Nobel prizes awarded yearly. The winner is selected by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, a five-member committee that is appointed by the Norwegian parliament. The award comes with prize money, which this year is just over $1 million. The prize will be awarded at a ceremony in Norway this December.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Stevemd2 from: Baltimore, MD
    October 12, 2012 3:54 PM
    The European Union is also resposible for supporting its gay citizens rights to equality under the law. Half of the member states have Civil law marriage and the other half a sort of half baked Civil union status

    France is guaranteed to join the marriage group by years end and it looks like England, Scotland, and wales will also do so within the next few years.

    Once solidly catholic Ireland is now poised to go from CU/s to marriage . 7#% of the people there support enabling legislation to change the constitution to allow marriage equality

    This is all a job well done. Shame on America for being so far behind in human rights. But its generally the same religious culture that made us the second to last nation in the west to end slaery and the only one to need a war to do so.

    www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-18690348

    by: Alexandra Fiona Dixon from: San Francisco, California
    October 12, 2012 3:54 PM
    The Nobel Prize Committee completely lost my respect when they awarded the Peace Prize to Barack Obama in 2009. Here in America we have this concept of "layaway" where for example you can buy a washing machine and then pay for it in installments. I would have thought awarding the Peace Prize on layaway was beneath the Nobel Prize Committee, but apparently not. Three years later, I would say Mr. Obama is behind on his payments. They should go to his house and repossess it.

    by: Stephen Real from: Columbia USA
    October 12, 2012 3:12 PM
    The blessings of European security can hardly overlook the US military contributions to the last 60 years of peace on the continent at the cost of the American tax payer. just saying

    by: Michael from: USA
    October 12, 2012 9:45 AM
    I'm sorry, and in respect to the Nobel Prize, but if a European leader now issues messages in the Arabic language, something must be done to recognize and support Israel in European culture

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora