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Friday, October 12, 2012

2012 Nobel Peace Prize Winner: The European Union

In the modern world of organizations and the members who inhabit them, it perhaps makes sense that the Nobel peace prize would go to a government rather than to a particular official thereof. One immediate problem was figuring out which officials in the E.U. would accept the award. Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament, immediately issued a statement indicating that his institution expected to be part of the award ceremony. Herman Van Rompuy, president of the upper chamber, and Jose Barroso, president of the E.U. Commission, could also be said to have had legitimate claims in receiving the award on behalf of the E.U. itself. The absence of an “overall” figurehead in the E.U. is likely a result of Europe’s unhappy experience with “one man rule.” Indeed, the E.U. itself can be said to be a check on such nationalist excesses. In this regard, the peace prize provided Europeans with a change to catch their breath and take in the big picture amid an austerity/debt crisis.

The full essay is in Essays on the E.U. Political Economy, available  in print and as an ebook at Amazon.