Saturday February 28, 2015 Search
Weather | Athens
11o C
6o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
A prize for the European Union but will it ever be at peace with itself?

By Nick Malkoutzis

In a sense, there can be no faulting the Norwegian Nobel Committee's decision to award the European Union the 2012 Peace Prize. Its current economic turmoil aside, the EU has been a remarkable example of political integration that has advanced the idea of common interest in a region bedeviled by war.

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 committee said in its statement. Many people for whom uncertainty and fear had become the norm were able to enjoy stability and prosperity thanks to the principle promoted by the EU, not just as an institution but as an idea, through which a united vision of the future could be shared.

There have of course been some notable exceptions. The EU's stance during the collapse of former Yugoslavia, for instance, has created a bloody stain that time will struggle to remove. Nevertheless, if viewed as a lifetime achievement award, the EU will perhaps justifiably feel that it deserves the peace prize. The question, though, is does the accolade also signify that the EU is nearing the end of its lifetime?

As the Nobel Committee prepared to announce that the EU had won the prize, neo-fascists in Athens terrorized people who wanted to watch a play. Their behavior went unchallenged by authorities in a state were institutions are crumbling faster than they can be rebuilt.

Some will say that Greece is a unique case -- that years of political corruption and institutional neglect have left it in a state of dysfunctionality that is unmatched. But then again, they say that Greece was a unique case when the debt crisis erupted and look how that turned out.

The EU would be kidding itself if it believes that the social collapse in Greece could not happen elsewhere. Extremist parties are already prominent in countries like Hungary and Austria, while Geert Wilders continues to spread his hate in the Netherlands, despite his recent setback in the country's recent elections. It would be naive to think that prejudice will not thrive amidst the social and political rubble created by the crisis and the failure to deal with it effectively.

Perhaps the most pervasive form of prejudice, which will prove corrosive for the EU's foundations, is the antagonism that has developed between the eurozone core and periphery. It is tragic that, egged on by politicians who were too cowardly to explain to their people how this crisis arose and how responsibility should be apportioned, millions of Europeans have bought into stereotypes about others living within the Union. This disharmony has entwined itself with the feeling that Europe's institutions have become largely undemocratic and threatens to choke all that is good about the EU.

An extensive Pew Research Center poll (http://www.pewglobal.org/2012/05/29/european-unity-on-the-rocks/) revealed a pessimistic, skeptical Europe of great contrasts. After decades of progress during which travel restrictions have been dropped, more Europeans are traveling within the Union for work, awareness and respect for each other's history and culture increased, and a common future appeared possible, the EU now faces the real prospect of much of this being rolled back by the painful insularism of the past.

In fact, that process has already begun and unless European leaders find some courage, the divisions could become irreversible. In that respect, perhaps the Nobel Prize is a good idea: a wake-up call to decision-makers and citizens alike, reminding them that their fragile construct, which promises so much, could soon be shattered.

The European Union may have earned the Nobel Peace Prize but it quickly has to find a way to be at peace with itself.

[Kathimerini English Edition]

ekathimerini.com , Friday October 12, 2012 (20:05)  
A unionist agenda
The beguiling limelight
A breath of opportunity
Give the green light
Alleged accomplices of N17s Xeros caught in Athens
One man was arrested and another detained in Athens on Saturday in connection to the November 17 terrorist Christodoulos Xeros, who was recaptured in January after a year on the run. Accordi...
Hellas Gold and workers react to Greek govt decision on plan permit
Hellas Gold and its workers at the gold mine in Skouries, Halkidiki, have vowed to take legal action after the government announced on Friday that it would be recalling the permit for a proc...
Inside News
Greece seeks negotiations on ECB bond repayment
Greece called into question on Saturday a major debt repayment it must make to the European Central Bank this summer, after acknowledging it faces problems in meeting its obligations to inte...
Piraeus plans are coming in next few weeks
Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis on Friday visited the installations of Piraeus Container Terminal (PCT), the local subsidiary of Cosco, with Chinese Ambassador Zou Xiaoli, in another effor...
Inside Business
BASKETBALL
Spanoulis leads Olympiakos to win over Malaga
A good second half was enough for Olympiakos to get the better of Unicaja Malaga (77-72) and score its seventh win in eight games at the second group stage of the Euroleague on Friday. Playi...
SOCCER
Ten-man Olympiakos couldnt overcome Dnipro
Olympiakos drew 2-2 with Dnipro from Ukraine at home on Thursday, playing almost the entire second half with a man down, to bow out of the Europa League, despite facing an opponent which on ...
Inside Sports
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. Alleged accomplices of N17s Xeros caught in Athens
2. Hellas Gold and workers react to Greek govt decision on plan permit
3. Greek ministry says teacher hirings to continue via ASEP
4. Women conned elderly Cretans by posing as church representatives
5. Spain, Portugal sought to trip up govt, Tsipras says
6. Police nab Kavala man over homegrown cannabis
more news
Today
This Week
1. Greece seeks negotiations on ECB bond repayment
2. A unionist agenda
3. Greek ministry says teacher hirings to continue via ASEP
4. Hellas Gold and workers react to Greek gov't decision on plan permit
5. Women conned elderly Cretans by posing as church representatives
6. At least three GD MPs to be released ahead of trial
Today
This Week
1. Time for Alexis Tsipras to keep his nerve
2. Greek bailout deal faces review by euro officials next week
3. Greece says eurozone deal won time as cash bled from banks
4. The ignorance of the West about the culture of Islam
5. A fierce battle looms
6. Spain said to lead push to hold Greece to terms as Podemos grows
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2015, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.