Whilst we cannot be certain of Alfred Nobel’s reasons for prohibiting Nobel Prize nominees from being publicly identified until 50 years after their nomination, the rule seems to have come in handy to the Norwegian award committee this year, who are responsible for selecting the winner of the Peace Prize category. The winner this year, of course, was announced last Friday, and was the European Union.

For a pan-governmental authority currently bowing to the political persecution of individuals like Julian Assange, directly contributing to widespread unhappiness and political unrest in the Greek population through severe austerity, and, for one particular member, following the Bush administration into unethical and expensive wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan, I must say I am surprised by the committee’s choice.

Naturally, because the nominees considered alongside the Union cannot be revealed until 2062, we have no reliable way of evaluating whether the committee’s choice might reflect general public opinion. I have a feeling it might not.

It seems senseless to award the European Union a Nobel Peace Prize when the European Union is constituted only by a range of member states, each of which have engaged in acts that both promote peace and damn it at the same time. Moreover, I would personally favour everyday individuals or non-governmental organisations for the Peace Prize over and above governmental authorities, whether over a single state or a whole continent. Mostly because I believe grassroots movements have generally achieved more in the way of progressive social change than any government.

So, if and when we come to the day when the European Union’s fellow nominees for Peace are announced, I shall look forward to shaking my head and pitying Nobel award committees’ seeming fascination with an outdated reverence to state and pan-state authority.

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