Three years after the controversial determination that President Barack Obama was worthy of the honor, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to the entire European Union. Thorbjorn Jagland, Chairman of the panel charged with bestowing the prize, said that the award recognizes “The stabilizing part played by the E. U. [that] has helped to transform most of Europe from a continent of war to a continent of peace.” Many though are skeptical of the EU’s claim to this award, citing the continent’s growing violence and general instability brought on by the ever-present threat of financial disaster.
The AP’s Stockholm bureau chief argues that this year’s recognition both honors past accomplishments and promotes works in progress. President Obama acknowledged that duality in his acceptance speech in 2009, saying “I am at the beginning, and not the end, of my labors on the world stage. Compared to some of the giants of history who have received this prize…my accomplishments are slight.” The Norwegian Nobel Committee has gone from bestowing the award upon seminal figures such as Mother Teresa and the 14th Dalai Lama, to blanketing the prestigious honor over an entire continent, one which is enthralled in a fairly significant amount of both political and economic turmoil. The current state of the EU has elicited many denizens to denounce the award as a “joke”. While the award remains synonymous with legacies of peacekeeping, the controversy surrounding recent recipients may be contributing to a deterioration of the Nobel Peace Prize brand.