It is tough to find fault with handing the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union. But that is exactly the problem — it shows a lack of imagination. It would have been more courageous to honor somebody who embodies what current EU leaders lack. Like Jacques Delors.
Has the European Union contributed to the fact that Europe has enjoyed more than six decades of peace? Has it earned the Nobel Peace Prize as a consequence? Of course it has! But the problem lies in just how clear the answers to those questions are. Choosing the EU as the recipient is completely without risk. Apart from a few misguided figures from the far right or left, nobody will offer serious misgivings.
Even the political signal the award sends is rather trite. In the depths of the common currency crisis, the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s Friday announcementmakes clear, it is important to remember what the EU stands for. Europe, in other words, doesn’t just stand for unwieldy debt loads and shared liability for that debt, but is rather a community of nations that, after centuries of war, finally realized that more binds them than divides them. Europeans didn’t just join together for agrarian subsidies and a leg up on exports — and we now have to be careful that the ongoing rhetoric about the broke Greeks and the selfish Germans don’t destroy that which was built over the course of 60 years.