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2012 NOBEL PRIZES
Swedish ministers hail EU Nobel Peace prize win

Swedish ministers hail EU Nobel Peace prize win

Published: 12 Oct 2012 14:40 GMT+02:00
Updated: 12 Oct 2012 13:31 GMT+02:00

Several Swedish government ministers welcomed the news that the European Union has been awarded the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize, with foreign minister Carl Bildt claiming it was "highly deserved".

"The union and its forerunners have for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe," the Norwegian Nobel Committee said in a statement.

"The division between East and West has to a large extent been brought to an end; democracy has been strengthened; many ethnically-based national conflicts have been settled."

RELATED PHOTO GALLERY: Stockholmers react to EU Nobel Peace Prize win

Within minutes of the announcement that the EU had won, Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt praised the choice via his official Twitter account.

"I warmly congratulate all of Europe and our peace to the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union. Highly deserved and highly important," he wrote.

"Worth noting that Nobel Committee says EU enlargement policies with Balkans and Turkey key part of its contribution to peace."

Integration minister Erik Ullenhag of the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet), a party with a strong pro-EU stance, also turned to Twitter to praise the Nobel Committee's choice.

"An entirely correct decision to give the Nobel Peace Prize to the EU," he tweeted.

"It wasn't a day too soon – the EU is the world's largest peace project."

Bildt was joined by Sweden's Minister for EU Affairs Birgitta Ohlsson in praise for the Norwegian Nobel Committee's decision.

"The Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union is well deserved. The EU has helped to heal Europe's open wounds after two bloody world wars, nasty military dictatorships in the south and communist oppression in Eastern Europe."

"The EU stands has a proud foundation, but it is not enough to talk about the beautiful words in the treaties. We must stand up for democracy and human rights on a daily basis."

"The Peace Prize should be a wake up call for the EU to remember its roots," Birgitta Ohlsson concluded.

Meanwhile Swedish EU Commissioner Cecilia Malmström referred to the "irony" of the EU receiving a prize from Norway, which remains outside the union.

"It is ironic that the Norwegians remind us about how valuable the cooperation has been," Malmström told the Dagens Nyheter daily on Friday.

While expressing surprise that the EU had won the prize, the commissioner argued that perhaps it had come at just the right time.

"Perhaps it can have extra importance just at the moment as we are experiencing the greatest economic crisis ever and as many people are speculating on the EU's future, to focus on what the EU has actually meant."

In a statement released in conjunction with Friday's announcement, the Norwegian Nobel Committee acknowledged that the EU was currently plagued with financial difficulties, but stressed that the EU has nevertheless contributed to peace on the continent.

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

"The stabilizing part played by the EU has helped to transform most of Europe from a continent of war to a continent of peace."

Sweden's Minister for Social Affairs and head of the Christian Democrats, Göran Hägglund, also noted that the timing of the award "could have been better", but nonetheless claimed that the EU was "without a doubt a worth Peace Prize recipient".

"It's paved the way for a lot of good that we take for granted today," he tweeted.

David Landes

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Your comments about this article

12:06 October 12, 2012 by intrepidfox
Pathetic. A mockery to peace.
12:08 October 12, 2012 by Great Scott
I seem to remember which counties bought about sixty years of peace to Europe and Sweden is not on that list. So Mr Bildt should not think in any way that he or Sweden has any part of that and therefore should not have any claim but to thank the countries which did. Also he should remember that it was ordinary people that bought about the peace not Politian's.
13:08 October 12, 2012 by Nomark
Ordinary people also enthusiastically supported in many of Europe's wars.

I think it does a disservice to the likes of Konrad Adenauer to ignore politicians' achievements. Sometimes politicos deserve criticism, other times not.

Furthermore, if the goal is to acknowledge peace in Europe then the Nobel folk should have also given it to the US who helped restore prosperity (eg Marshall plan) and keep the peace (via NATO). And while they're at it, why not also give it to Russia. The threat of a communist dominated Europe certainly helped Western Europe to pull together.
13:37 October 12, 2012 by mafketis
I thought Obama was the stupidest most embarassing choice they could make....

I was wrong.

What's next? The award goes to the Prime Minister's cat? The trolls that live under the bridge connecting Sweden and Denmark? The voices in the heads of the comitte members?
13:41 October 12, 2012 by azimuth
Nobel should be turning over in his grave....
16:49 October 12, 2012 by Ancient Popeye
I presume that the Swedish Ministers hailing this award are all raving Europhiles.

A minor correction that Brussels would like you to forget.

Peace in Europe has been obtained by NATO and however they would like to rewrite the history books, that fact remains, nothing whatever to do with the Europe Union.
17:05 October 12, 2012 by johan rebel
Uh . . . this is the same incompetent and impotent European Union that had to call in the US to sort out Bosnia and Kosovo?

Oh boy!

If Carl Bildt praised the award he should have his head examined.
17:32 October 12, 2012 by intrepidfox
One of the only worthy winners were Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan. Now its just political. EU getting the peace prize, a joke. Europe is at war and export weapons all over the world.. Is that peace?
17:39 October 12, 2012 by prince T
"I warmly congratulate all of Europe and our peace to the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union. Highly deserved and highly important," he wrote.

This man is more confused. My english is not that good but i am still smart enough to know that " our peace to the nobel prize to the european union" makes no sense or a sentence.
17:40 October 12, 2012 by Great Scott
@Nomark

It seems you are either too naive or fail to see the achievements made by others, that it was ordinary people that suffered and sometimes gave up their lives to achieve peace. At what time did Mr Bildt do anything for peace in Europe, what right does he have to celebrate, he let others do it for him. Peace in Europe was established before the European Union as we know today even existed and yes Russia also played a major part as millions of Russians gave their lives. I think it's about time you realised who gave their times for your peace today. What maintained the peace for the last sixty years were the British and American forces stationed in Germany. Kosovo broke the peace in Europe where once again ordinary people from NATO and Russia had to go and do the dirty work.
18:18 October 12, 2012 by fredlave
A good friend of mine, now deceased, once observed:

"When you start believing your own bullish*t you're in trouble."

Nobel Committee = Insignificance
18:19 October 12, 2012 by Nomark
Great Scott

It seems you read what you want to read into my post even to the extent of making up arguments which aren't there. Please try to avoid attacking something I didn't write. It doesn't make for a meaningful discussion.

You wrote:

"Also he should remember that it was ordinary people that bought about the peace not (sic) Politian's."

I pointed out that some politicians do indeed deserve credit, and gave an example of one, Konrad Adenauer. I also pointed out that some politicians don't deserve credit. A bit like the members of that group called "ordinary people" really.
18:55 October 12, 2012 by peastuto
It's very interesting. The armed wing of Europe, NATO, fomented civil war in Libya and Syria, bombed Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. This just may be a big joke!
18:57 October 12, 2012 by Hisingen
It makes you wonder what world the Nobel committees live in.
20:58 October 12, 2012 by Keith #5083
I was opposed to the EU - even campaigned on the streets against. However, UK folk were taken in without being asked, and then asked after 2 years 'shall we stay in'.

I( am very aware of public perceptions of the EU as being cumbersome and often irrelevant). There are however a few things I have noticed which caused me to swallow my'little englishman' attitude:

1.A lot that the EU does is consumer protection and human rights protections. Whether we talk about 'what a grade 1 banana should be' or 'whether a woman has to retire at 60 in the UK'.

2. There can be no doubt that Europe and it's citizens have enjoyed peace for many decades.Nation has not warred with nation in Europe. I believe that may reasonably be called Peace and is worthy of acknowledgement especially by generations who have never known anything but that Peace.

(Peastuto, you over simplify - but,hey, maybe you forgot Lockerbie, Amnesty International's reports about what Saddam Hussein was doing to his own people, what the Taliban do to Afghanistan children, and since you mention Libya twice, the horrors that Ghaddafi inflicted upon his own people. You also probably omit the amazing amount of assistance and aid that flows from the EU to other troubled areas in the world helping with food,medicines,etc.)

3. That having been said I remain against the 'single currency Eurozone' for the simple reason that it flies in the face of one of the basic reasons for the EU, namely, the protection and support of the varying and rich cultures of Europe.
21:09 October 12, 2012 by cogito
At least Obama got it BEFORE he failed. While the EU....

btw, Bildt's wife is an EU MP.
22:04 October 12, 2012 by jostein
Haha, Bildt is such a prat!
05:37 October 13, 2012 by peastuto
Keith, I'm sorry to tell you, but you're fooling yourself. The countries I mentioned were invaded by NATO in the name of democracy, but what we see is only chaos. These countries are on the verge of a bloody Islamic revolution. Before, despite the tyranny, there was the order (except Afghanistan). The custom of giving small favors to the conquered peoples is an old European practice. That was how the Native Americans were decimated.
08:19 October 13, 2012 by skogsbo
Sweden needs to take back the award of the peace prize from Norway. The Obama and EU awards prove they aren't capable of forming a decent committee. It's turning into a joke, it degrades those who did deservingly get the award for genuine peace effort.

Obama, is in it for himself and hasn't managed peace anywhere.

The EU is all about lining French and German pockets, mainly their EMP and is on the brink of collapse, probably bringing many small wars to Europe within a decade.
09:26 October 13, 2012 by entry
Dang! I guess the Nobel Peace Prize commission thought putting Bashar Hafez al-Assad up this year would be too provocative.
11:01 October 13, 2012 by RobinHood
Norwegians clearly don't take their holidays in Greece anymore.
14:03 October 13, 2012 by cogito
"I thought Obama was the stupidest most embarassing choice they could make..."(#4)

@#4.The Obama and EU prizes could compete with the 2001 prize to Kofi Annan and the United Nations, at the zenith of corruption in the Oil-for-Food program in Iraq. Annan's reign also encompassed peacekeeper rape, massive corruption in the procurement department, and the roots of the Cash-for-Kim transfers of cash and dual-use technology by the UN Development Program to the government of North Korea.
17:39 October 13, 2012 by jostein
@skogsbo

yea, right, like the extremists that rule sweden would be an improvement? We would go from ludicrous to outright crazy.
07:09 October 14, 2012 by skogsbo
jostein, lets be real, the closest to an extreme regime you've been is reading wikipedia, you wouldn't know what one was if it came up and hit you in the face.
14:24 October 14, 2012 by Hisingen
Ha bl***y ha. It makes you weep. EU - huh.
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