EU Wins Nobel Peace Prize
The European Union won the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize amidst a three-year-old debt crisis, for promoting peace, democracy and human rights, the Norwegian Nobel Committee (挪威诺贝尔委员会) announced.
The EU has transformed most of Europe “from a continent of wars to a continent of peace,” said Nobel Committee Chairman Thorbjoern Jagland.
The award was a badly needed morale boost for a 60-year-old union in the midst of a midlife crisis. The prize jury urged Europeans to remember the EU’s role in building peace among enemies who fought Europe’s bloodiest wars, even as they try to deal with the economic crisis that threatens its future.
The award was hailed at EU headquarters in Brussels (布鲁塞尔) and by pro-EU leaders across Europe, but criticized by those who consider the EU a super-state that gradually destroys national identities.
Emerging for a brief encounter with reporters, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso (欧盟委员会主席巴罗佐) declared: “Ladies and gentlemen, I have to say that when I woke up this morning, I did not expect it to be such a good day.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (德国首相默克尔), leader of the EU’s biggest economy, described the awarding of the prize to the EU as a “wonderful decision” and said it would inspire her personally to press ahead with closer integration.
The announcement was met with negative reactions in debt-ridden countries like Spain and Greece, where many blame Germany and other northern EU neighbors for the painful austerity measures like higher taxes and job cuts that they have endured in a so-far failed effort to save their troubled economies.
On the streets of Athens, Greece, where demonstrators protested German demands for austerity, the award was greeted with disbelief. “Is this a joke?” asked Chrisoula Panagiotidi, a beautician who had lost her job. “It’s the last thing I would expect. It mocks us and what we are going through right now. All it will do is infuriate people here.”
As the EU moves toward the three-year mark in its financial crisis, the organization, which is now made up of 500 million people, faces plenty of problems. Progress is slow and 25 million people are out of work.