The Nobel Prize should have gone to NATO

The announcement of the EU winning the Nobel Peace Prize is nothing more than a PR stunt at the time when the Eurozone is on the ropes and the EU has never been more unpopular

NATO has kept the peace in Europe
Luke Coffey
On 13 October 2012 08:24

And the Nobel Peace Prize goes to… The European Union??? 

And so a once meaningful award devolves into a public relations stunt to shore up support for the failing European Project. Far from ensuring a peaceful and stable Europe, the hubris shown by Brussels-based Eurocrats when dealing with the Eurozone crisis has ushered in an era of instability and uncertainty across the continent not seen for a generation.

In choosing the EU for this year’s peace prize recipient, the Nobel Committee has ignored the fact that NATO has done more to promote democracy, peace, and security in Europe than any other multilateral organization, including the European Union.

According to the Nobel Committee responsible for selecting the winner, the European Union won this award because the EU has "for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe".

This statement is an over simplification and is an inaccurate portrayal of the facts. No objective analysis would show that the EU has been wholly successful in, much less solely responsible for, keeping the peace in Europe or even advancing democracy in the region.

In terms of ensuring peace it has been NATO, and not the EU, that has gallantly fulfilled this role for more than sixty years.

Time and again when the EU was unable to maintain the peace in Europe it was NATO that stepped into the breech. It wasn’t the EU, or any of its institutional predecessors, that ensured peace and stability in Europe after World War Two or during the Cold War with the Soviet Union.

It was NATO that intervened in the Balkans during the 1990’s after the EU failed to act. After NATO did all the hard work there, the EU took over.  The Balkans still smolder today, but the EU keeps steadily reducing its peace-keeping mission in Bosnia, putting continued stability there at risk. 

Libya provided another recent demonstration of the EU’s inability to act. Although it was in “Europe’s interest” to act in Libya, it was NATO, with the U.S. providing the bulk of key capabilities, which carried out the intervention there. The EU’s contribution:  a skeleton of a military headquarters in Italy at the cost of almost € 8 million. Its objective: eventually lead a military humanitarian mission

But the mission never happened. NATO had already facilitated the liberation of Libya before the EU got out of the blocks.

The Nobel Committee suggested that, after World War II, there was a real threat of war between France and Germany and that the EU somehow prevented war from happening. The suggestion is, at best, disingenuous. Whatever threat of war existed, it was quashed by: the unconditional surrender of Germany— unlike after World War One, the subsequent U.S. occupation force in Germany, the uniting threat to Western Europe posed by the Soviet Union, and the establishment of NATO.

Perhaps the most nonsensical claim by the Nobel Committee is about the EU’s promotion of democratic values. Far from promoting democracy in Europe the EU has been steadily eroding democratic values.

Over the past six decades the EU has developed into one of the most undemocratic institutions in the western world. Power has been removed from sovereign-nation states and has become consolidated in obtuse decision-making institutions in Brussels.

The EU has an executive branch, the EU Commission, which is unelected and is not accountable to the member states. The European Parliament is the only directly elected decision making body in the EU but it is so weak that it cannot even propose its own legislation.

Never, since the start of the EU experiment, have more Europeans felt so distant from the decision making processes of governance that affects their daily lives. It is no wonder that a recent poll carried out by the EU showed that only 31 percent of Europeans have a positive view of the EU and only 31 percent trust the EU.

The announcement of the EU winning the Nobel Peace Prize is nothing more than a PR stunt at the time when the Eurozone is on the ropes and the EU has never been more unpopular. If any organization should have won this award for allowing Europe’s post-war economy to grow, guaranteeing peace throughout the Cold War and promoting democracy after the collapse of the Soviet Union it should be NATO. 

Without NATO it is anyone’s guess as to where Europe would be today.  

Luke Coffey is the Margaret Thatcher Fellow at the Heritage Foundation in the Washington DC

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