Once a year, Norge is mentioned by every news outlet in verden (the world), from Indonesia to Illinois. If you’re thinking Nobels fredspris (the Nobel Peace Prize), you’re absolutely right!
A couple of weeks ago, on den tolvte oktober (October 12th), chairman of Den norske Nobelkomité (The Norwegian Nobel Committee), Thorbjørn Jagland–social democrat and former Norwegian prime minister–took Europa by surprise, proclaiming EU [eh-oo] this year’s winner of the prestigious prize.
To a lot of europeere (Europeans) these days, the European Union has become synonymous with byråkrati, arbeidsløshet (unemployment) and finanskrise (financial crisis). Fred (peace) does not seem like the first thing that springs to mind! 🙂
Nonetheless, it was the dream of never having to go through another krig [kreeg] (war) that inspired founding members Frankrike, Italia, Vesttyskland (Western Germany), Nederland, Belgia og Luxemburg to create their ”let’s buy each other’s products” club in 1952. After two verdenskriger (world wars), the Europeans were tired of seeing France and Germany attacking each other. The idea was that these coutries should be so linked through handel (trade) that nobody would be interested in warmongering. (You don’t kill your partner, especially not if that means that you lose penger, money!)
In his announcement, Jagland also stressed the way the EU had helped integrate Spania, Portugal og Hellas (Greece) in Europe after their dictators had fallen in the 1970s.
Norway is not an EU member itself, having said nei til EU [no to the EU] twice: in 1972 and 1994. To a lot of Norwegians, then, the EU isn’t exactly a fredsprosjekt (peace project), but rather a bunch of greedy politikere (politicians) who are trying to curb the individual countries’ frihet (freedom) and selvstendighet (independence) in order to create ”Europas forente stater” (”the US of Europe”).
In 2009, when the Nobel Prize was given to US president Barack Obama, many people criticized the Committee, arguing that the Prize had become a political statement rather than an award based on genuine achievement.
How do you feel about the EU winning the Peace Prize? Who, in your opinion, should have had it? Feel free to add a comment!