France hails EU's Nobel peace prize - it's a joke, say sceptics
Being awarded the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize gives the European Union a responsibility to stay together, the French presidency declared Friday, hailing the decision as a tribute to the EU’s values. Others were less enthusiastic, suggesting that the decision was “black humour” or even a “posthumous award”.
The award "confers on Europe an even greater responsibility to preserve its unity and its capacity to promote growth and jobs and foster solidarity among members," a statement by François Hollande’s Elysée Palace said.
The prize, "which every European is proud of", was a tribute to post-World War II efforts to create a union "based on the values of democracy, liberty and solidarity", it claimed.
Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault hailed the decision as “an immense honour” and “an encouragement to pursue the vision of the [EU’s] founding fathers”.
But left-wing gadfly and former presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon dubbed the decision “black humour”.
“One can understand why it hasn’t received the economics prize, given that its policy is making unemployment and the crisis worse,” he commented.
And another former presidential candidate, the right-wing Eurosceptic Nicolas Dupont-Aignan judged that the award has been given posthumously, because the EU is “no longer the Europe of peace” conceived by one-time German chancellor Konrad Adenauer and French president Charles De Gaulle.
The prize committee hailed the EU as a force for peace after World War II and after the wars in the Balkans in the 1990s, along with an appeal to “not let the continent go into disintegration again”, according to the committee’s head, Thorbjorn Jagland.