reported on the controversial award of a Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union in October 2012. While some people praised the award, the majority reacted with shock, or even humor, at the fact that the EU bloc of countries, where social unrest is rampant and democracy somewhat scarce, should receive such an award.
has been written and signed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who won the prize in 1984 for his nonviolent struggle against apartheid, Mairead Maguire of Northern Ireland, who was awarded for her efforts to find a peaceful resolution to the troubles in 1976 and by Argentina’s Adolfo Pérez Esquivel who was honored for work in advancing human rights in Argentina in 1980. These past winners protest the decision to award the European Union this sought-after prize.
Quoting the letter, “The EU is clearly not ‘the champion of peace’ that Alfred Nobel had in mind when he wrote his will. The Norwegian Nobel committee has redefined and remodeled the prize in a manner that it is not consistent with the law.”
continued to state that the committee must respect the original wishes of the Nobel founder, who died in 1896.
They called for the $1.2 million prize money not to be paid to the EU. "We ask the board of the foundation to clarify that it cannot and will not pay the prize from its funds."
They further said the EU condones "security based on military force and waging wars rather than insisting on the need for an alternative approach."
The letter was also signed by the Geneva-based International Peace Bureau, which won the award in 1910, and several authors, peace activists and lawyers.
The European Union, who will receive a diploma and gold medal, as well as the check, has stated that the money will be donated to children affected by war and conflicts.
European President Herman Van Rompuy has called on all 27 member states to attend, including Croatia, which is soon to become an EU member. However, several leaders have already confirmed that they will not be attending the awarding of the prize in Oslo on December 10.
Even in the host country, Norway, four cabinet ministers from a euro skeptic party have vowed not to attend. The UK's David Cameron, in the spirit of his rather ambivalent attitude towards the EU, remarked that “there will be enough people to collect the prize,” while the leader of the UK's Independence Party (UKIP), Nigel Farage said he would “struggle to accept it”. He said further that awarding the prize to the EU brought it [the Nobel committee] into “disrepute.”
Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and Czech president Vaclav Klaus, a noted Euro skeptic, have also said they will not be in attendance.
Among those who have RSVP'd yes, are French President Francoise Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
controversy has arisen in the past over the coveted prize. In 2009 Barack Obama was named as the winner, even through the US was fighting two wars at that time. In 1973, it was awarded to North Vietnamese leader Le Duc Tho for restoring peace in South Vietnam; but Tho refused to accept the prize.
The awards are to be handed out on December 10, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel's death, in Oslo, Norway.