October 12, 2012 / 9:33 AM / 5 years ago

Reaction as EU wins Peace Prize

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union won the Nobel Peace Prize for its long-term role in uniting the continent, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said on Friday, an award seen as morale boost for the bloc as it struggles to resolve its debt crisis.

Following are reactions to the award:

EUROPEAN COUNCIL PRESIDENT HERMAN VAN ROMPUY

”We are all very proud that the efforts of the EU for keeping the peace in Europe are rewarded.

“Europe got through two civil wars in the 20th century and we have established peace thanks to the European Union. So the European Union is the biggest peacemaker in history.”

EU ECONOMIC AND MONETARY AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER OLLI REHN

“Despite some gloom in the economy in Europe, still this is a great day for Europe. This Nobel Peace Prize has apparently been awarded for the contribution of the European Union over the past 60 years to the peace and reconciliation and democracy and human rights. I am very proud of these European values which are also universal human values. This is a proud day for every European.”

PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT MARTIN SCHULZ

”This Nobel Peace Prize is for all EU citizens. We in the European Parliament are deeply touched. The European Union has reunited the continent through peaceful means and brought arch enemies together. This historic act of reunification has been rightfully recognized.

”The values of human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and the respect for human rights are absolutely fundamental to the European Union. These fundamental values underpin all of the European Union’s activities both internally and in our external policies.

”Several nations are freely negotiating accession to the European Union, a sign that despite challenging economic conditions, the European Union is a magnet for stability, prosperity and democracy.

“The EU’s principles and values of reconciliation can serve as an inspiration to other regions in the world. From the Balkans to the Caucasus, the EU serves as a beacon for democracy and reconciliation.”

UK INDEPENDENCE PARTY LEADER NIGEL FARAGE

”This goes to show that the Norwegians really do have a sense of humor. The EU may be getting the booby prize for peace because it sure hasn’t created prosperity. The EU has created poverty and unemployment for millions.

”In the last two years the EU has caused huge animosity between the countries of Northern and Southern Europe. Just look at Frau Merkel being welcomed with Nazi flags in Athens, and German newspapers slagging off the Greeks as work-shy wonders.

“After watching European Council President Van Rompuy cheerleading for war in Libya with Colonel Gaddafi, this idea of the EU getting a Nobel Peace is ridiculous.”

EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT JOSE MANUEL BARROSO ON TWITTER, WHERE HE HAS 14,900 FOLLOWERS AND RISING:

“It is a great honor for the whole of the EU, all 500 million citizens, to be awarded the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize.”

FORMER GERMAN CHANCELLOR GERHARD SCHROEDER

”This is an important and right decision by the Nobel Prize Committee and a big encouragement for the people in Europe. It comes at the right time for closer togetherness in Europe and it strengthens those powers that are pushing for closer integration in the European Union.

”It’s a clear rejection of nationalism and the sole pursuit of national interest. The Nobel Prize Committee deserves respect for this decision.

”And all levels of decision making in the European Union must take this high award as incentive to continue with their fullest power the path to closer integration.

“In this way the European Union can serve as a role model for other regions for a socially, economically, culturally and politically successful community.”

FORMER FRENCH PRESIDENT VALERY GISCARD D‘ESTAING

“It is right that this extraordinary effort that has been accomplished by the Europeans and their leaders to establish a lasting peace on their continent - historically ravaged by war - is rewarded and honored.”

CARL DEVOS, POLITICS PROFESSOR AT THE UNIVERSITY OF GHENT

”It’s one of the most intelligent awards that has been given and it surely is a celebration and an official recommendation for the importance that the European Union has in keeping world peace, especially in Europe.

”Secondly they have exported a way of making compromises of trying to avoid conflict, of trying to keep talking with each other that you can call a European recipe or a European way of doing business, or a European way of settling conflicts, not by using force like some other regions or world leaders have done.

“As a military force, the European Union is quite weak and it has used that disadvantage to turn it into an advantage and to show the world that you can be important and have influence by just talking and negotiating and renegotiating with people.”

Reporting by Reuters newsrooms

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