Sunday, October 14, 2012

The EU is awarded a Nobel Prize!

The EU has been awarded last Friday a Peace Nobel Prize by the Norwegian Nobel committee. The news have made many people angry while for others, notably the EU officials, it was a very proud and joyful moment.

In my opinion the Nobel Prize is justified and something that should have happened long time ago. Europe is indeed transformed for the better because of the EU and many people benefit from many EU funded programs. Europe will never go back to what it was before, a war torn continent because our economies are so intertwined now, that going to war would be something unthinkable! Because you would be hurting your own economy too, if you tried to harm another country.

Nevertheless I also think that the timing was very bad. If they awarded the Prize after 2004, when Europe united after 5 decades of being cut in half by the Iron Curtain it would be more appropriate. The re-unification of the Continent was a reason to present the EU with the Nobel Prize. But now, if we look at what is happening across Europe it simply looks daft!

There is a social uprising almost in every country and people are angry, especially in the countries worst affected by the recession. How you justify the award, when you are in their eyes the cause of so much poverty, inequality and injustice. When it is you who impose the austerity on them and you force them to not have enough to provide for their children. When you force many jobs to close in their countries and leave them without jobs and with an uncertain future? What prize can make you look better in their eyes?

Is it just a PR move from the European elites? Are they trying to promote this way the European project to their citizens? Well this is the stupidest way of doing it. Even though as a staunch "pro-European" I am delighted the the EU won eventually this award and it deserved it, it just does not make sense at this moment in time. If you want to promote the EU and the opportunities it offers or the achievements it has accomplished, do so by making the citizens' lives better and provide them with solutions to their problems.

Right now what we see is that the EU (apparently) creates more problems for them! It promotes more competition, open markets, it supports the Banks and their bailing out, it supports the Markets and the capitalist system! It takes away their social benefits and lowers their salaries in half. Now of course it is not the EU's fault that Europe is in crisis. The blame should be put mainly in the chronic wrong political and financial decisions that our national governments have followed. But when they need solutions, they always call the EU to come and clean their mess, thus scapegoating the EU for the problems and putting it in the front-line to find solutions.

Not that the EU has not a share of blame for this mess that we are in. It is proven that the EU officials knew about the state of many of Europe's economies, but they did nothing to change that. Could they I could ask, when Europe is being governed by the rich elites of each nation. And of course the rich elites of the richer nations have more say and power. The EU as it stands and operates at the moment in other words, represents the Aristocracy of this continent. Even though there are many great EU projects, programs, initiatives and institutions, they are all being undermined by our national governments that though are signing up for them, they never bother to implement them fully.

In other words, though the EU is giving many opportunities to the citizens, they are being hijacked by the ruling elites of each country and being used for their benefit. Is it any wonder for example that in my native country Greece, there was literally no information about our EU rights as EU citizens for the public? We joined the EU in 1981 and it was only after I moved to Ireland 8 years ago that I saw for the first time a program in our national television, discussing and explaining our EU rights to us. Why doesn't our government inform us about our rights as EU citizens? Is it perhaps because they want to safeguard those benefits and use them for their own benefit, when they want to present them as their idea or for their supporters only?

Generally I put the blame for the situation mostly on the Greek political, financial and industrial elite, then of course on the elites of our European "partners" like those of Germany, France, Holland, Finland, Austria, Britain and so on. They want their interests secured and served, so our elites simply oblige them by doing whatever they ask. Just see how Germany's Chancellor Mrs. Merkel has taken the lead of Europe and advices us all how to run our economies. Who gave her this privilege and right?

So the EU, that is run by our political elites, simply follows our elites' guidelines. But it is the EU that takes the blame for the mess, never our national governments. If the Greek politicians had any backbone, and if the politicians of some rich countries in Europe were not as greedy, we the citizens would not be the ones who would pay the price. But trying to award the EU with a prize now, simply resembles with a slap in the face to most of us! What is the point? We need to see actions and solutions to reinstall support and confidence in the European project and no award can do that.

I would happily love to see the award being given if and when the EU solved the crisis in Europe and made the lives of the citizens easier. Certainly not now! And it is funny to see that the award is actually coming from Norway, a country that chose to stay out of the club. Is this a sign of a possible Norwegian membership renegotiation, or have they simply made a secret deal with the rest of the European elite? I would love to think it is the first case. Does the award represents an approval of the EU by the Norwegian elites?

Whatever the motives were for such a decision, they certainly managed to create some controversy. While people in Greece and Spain are out on the streets protesting and being abused by the police, the EU receives a Peace Prize. Not to mention that it is one of the few times that this award is nominated to a person and not an organization. Perhaps we are seeing changing trends by the Nobel Committee, or they simply ran out of people to give the award, given the fact that in a large part of the planet there is a rise of hostility.

The decision is definitely political. But as the European Parliament's President Mr. Martin Schulz mentioned, does that decision mean that our elites decided that "more Europe" (aka a European federation of some sort) is needed and what will this mean of us? What kind of Europe are they trying to create and will Norway be a part of it? It all remains to be seen.

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