Do you recognize that clover?
Dandelions, l’or du pauvre?
(Europe, nonetheless, is over.)
- Vladimir Nabakov
Despite its continued war on the poor and working classes throughout and beyond its borders, the European Union was awarded the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday. Aside from having successfully avoided instigating a third World War, the EU has done little to advance the ideals of peace and “fraternity between nations” for which the prize is purportedly awarded each year.
The constricting financial clauses of the European constitution and the subsequent Maastricht Treaty have been significant pressures that have confounded attempts by poorer, peripheral member nations (Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal) to pull themselves out of the great economic recession foisted on them by their wealthier neighbours.
The EU’s austerity measures have exasperated extreme poverty, violence and nationalism in Europe’s poorer, often debtor, countries. In Greece, unemployment is at 24 per cent and income for workers and pensioners has fallen by 32 per cent.
As tens of thousands protested Angela Merkel’s trip to Athens, there are growing accusations of police brutality in the country. On the week the prize was awarded, Greek police are accused of using a protester as a human shield and of subjecting 15 anti-fascist activists to torture and humiliation at an Athens detention centre.
The EU’s anti-peace policies are not limited to its borders. Despite having lost the mantle as the predominant hegemon of global capitalism, Europe has continued to play a supportive role to US military power through its active involvement in NATO and its support for US imperialism, especially in the Middle East and Eastern Europe. On Friday, historian and activist Tariq Ali told Democracy Now that it has become a de facto obligation of countries that join the EU to also join NATO and that the EU has supported Israel in its occupation of Palestine.
Celebrating a war maker is not an original move for a Nobel Committee. Past recipients include Henry Kissinger, Barack Obama and Theodore Roosevelt. The Norwegian Peace Council is calling for the resignation of the head of the Norwegian Nobel Committee and requests a new committee that includes competent peace activists and researchers with a greater focus on international peace issues.
See also Counterpunch for NATO in 2013: An Immodest Proposal for the Nobel Peace Prize Committee.