The award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the EU last week sparked a lot of debate.
What qualifies the EU for this accolade? One argument is that it was established after World War II to ensure harmony by pooling resources between France and Germany. The EU began as the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951, largely at the behest of America, to enable massive rearmament at the start of the Cold War. The original objective was to prepare for war, not peace. Meanwhile NATO, established in 1949, was forged as a unified defence league for peacekeeping not only in Europe but internationally.
The European Coal and Steel Community developed into the European Economic Community and began foisting ideologies of federalism upon currently 500 million citizens who are subject to, but without democratic influence over, its laws.
At present, after putting political will over common sense by creating a single currency, we are left with a crisis that the unelected European Commission is unashamedly using to push forward deeper integration. The relative peace we have enjoyed in Europe for the last ten years is beginning to unravel.
We are seeing the humanitarian fall out of the EU's failed fiscal policy, with thousands plunged into poverty: utterly despicable in 21st century Europe. Just last week the Spanish Red Cross announced that their winter appeal is to create food parcels for Spaniards, the first time the campaign has been focused domestically and not on developing countries in Africa and Asia.
In Greece 25,000 people are dependent upon handouts from the Orthodox Church. Is it surprising 50,000 protestors turned out on the streets of Athens, some burning Swastikas, to express their anger at the visit of Angela Merkel, who they feel is responsible for the crippling austerity causing so much suffering? A steep increase in tensions is allowing the rise of extremism and inter-country distrust.
Under the current structure of the EU, with inter-reliant energy and agricultural policy, a burgeoning External Action Service and the call for Qualified Majority Voting on Foreign Affairs, what would happen if the international balance of peace tips? Do we want to be part of a giant multi-nation block with no say as a country? Many opposed the merger of EAD and BAE (including the Pentagon in America) on the grounds of undermining international security by creating an arms giant. Yet merging other forms of self sufficiency, from farming to trade, can be equally as dangerous. I do not oppose free trade with Europe, nor do I undervalue the importance of transcontinental cooperation in international security, but I fear the consequences of creating an unanswerable multi-national superpower. History has observed the knife edge upon which the world teetered during the Cold War. The constitution of the USSR and the EU post-Lisbon Treaty is staggeringly 98% similar.
I am rather cynical about the timing of this award. Tensions are running high and the EU desperately needs an image boost to quell growing discontent. Perhaps by posthumously awarding the EU the Peace Prize now, the Nobel Committee is trying to promote a sense of solidarity where nationalistic tendencies are simmering just below the surface of increasingly violent riots.