Crisis-hit Europeans see cruel joke in EU Nobel

Fri Oct 12, 2012 8:56am EDT
 
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By Karolina Tagaris

ATHENS (Reuters) - "Is this a joke?" said Chrisoula Panagiotidi, 36, an Athens beautician, laughing derisively upon hearing that the European Union had won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Three days ago she lost her job, becoming one of the one-in-four Greeks who is unemployed in the fifth year of a biting recession. Told it was no joke at all, her incredulity quickly turned to disgust.

"It mocks us and what we are going through right now," she said. "All it will do is infuriate people here."

Across a continent where the EU's policies are blamed for deepening the worst economic crisis in living memory, many Europeans said they were simply baffled by the prize. Others were outraged.

"I can't get my head around it. They'd be last on my list. It's such a bland and inert organization," said Philip Deane, 48, an IT consultant walking along the River Liffey in Dublin.

"Given the state of the economy, the timing is really, really bad."

Ireland, like Greece, has been forced to turn to the European Union and IMF for a financial bailout, delivered in the framework of a strict austerity program.

Mariana Fotiou, 69, an Athens lottery ticket vendor was furious.   Continued...