The contribution which an organized and living Europe can bring to civilization is indispensable to the maintenance of peaceful relations. In taking upon herself for more than 20 years the role of champion of a united Europe, France has always had as her essential aim the service of peace. A united Europe was not achieved and we had war.
Europe will not be made all at once, or according to a single plan. It will be built through concrete achievements which first create a de facto solidarity. The coming together of the nations of Europe requires the elimination of the age-old opposition of France and Germany. Any action taken must in the first place concern these two countries.
It proposes that Franco-German production of coal and steel as a whole be placed under a common High Authority, within the framework of an organization open to the participation of the other countries of Europe. The pooling of coal and steel production should immediately provide for the setting up of common foundations for economic development as a first step in the federation of Europe, and will change the destinies of those regions which have long been devoted to the manufacture of munitions of war, of which they have been the most constant victims.
The solidarity in production thus established will make it plain that any war between France and Germany becomes not merely unthinkable, but materially impossible. The setting up of this powerful productive unit, open to all countries willing to take part and bound ultimately to provide all the member countries with the basic elements of industrial production on the same terms, will lay a true foundation for their economic unification.
This production will be offered to the world as a whole without distinction or exception, with the aim of contributing to raising living standards and to promoting peaceful achievements. With increased resources Europe will be able to pursue the achievement of one of its essential tasks, namely, the development of the African continent. In this way, there will be realised simply and speedily that fusion of interest which is indispensable to the establishment of a common economic system; it may be the leaven from which may grow a wider and deeper community between countries long opposed to one another by sanguinary divisions.
By pooling basic production and by instituting a new High Authority, whose decisions will bind France, Germany and other member countries, this proposal will lead to the realization of the first concrete foundation of a European federation indispensable to the preservation of peace.
Read the rest - but it becomes apparent that economic integration and its instruments ("common market," "the euro," the Schengen Agreement) are actually intended to bring about the goal of lasting peace on the European Continent. Economic integration of Europe itself is not the main goal of the European community, know today as the European Union.
Most of the articles out there on the reaction to the EU's Nobel Peace Prize show this gross misunderstanding of the real purposes of the Union - and tend to emphasis the economic purpose. These articles focus on the economic crisis and are worded as if the authors believe that economic purposes of the Union were the only purposes of the Union. One such article is an editorial from the Boston Globe:
[M]ost Nobel Peace Prizes make an implicit statement about current affairs. Is this one saying that the EU’s stronger states, most notably Germany, should ease up on Greece and others to keep the union together? Or are the Norwegians, whose country conspicuously stayed out of the euro, telling the union’s weaker economies that they should feel grateful for the help they’re getting from Brussels? A prize to Greek protesters or German central bankers would have sent a clearer message. But amid anxieties across a continent whose major powers plunged the world into war twice in the last century, a vaguer, warmer message surely can’t hurt.
How ignorant... and ... what would Greek protestors or German bankers have to do with peace in Europe and elsewhere?!!! The Boston Globe editor needs a course on modern European history!
This article has no mention of how the purpose of the wedding between France and Germany through economic integration had to do with establishing a lasting peace - not "weak and strong economies." The award of the Peace Prize to the European union is long overdue - and does make a statement about current affairs - just take a look at the Balkans, where the war and bloodshed are being solved through slow, but sure integration of Croatia, Serbia and other nations into the EU. Peace and stability must be established first, aid is sometimes a part, but this comes before a trading relationship. The EU has a regime of operation, called Europeanization, which helps build stability and bring about lasting peace outside of Europe too. The process of working with the European Union is always slow, but eventually works for the benefit of all parties in the relationship.
Nobel Peace Committee understands the REAL purpose of the EU! The statement from the Nobel Committee hits the proverbial nail right on the head when it comes to the rational for awarding the EU the Prize. This statement makes it clear that the Nobel Committee truly understands the real purposes of the Union, and its has nothing to do with economics [see EU wins Nobel Peace Prize, EuropeanVoice - European Union wins Nobel Peace Prize -Reuters - Nobel peace prize leads EU to question its raison d'être - The Guradian]. It is for this reason why the European Union must be preserved - and not allowed to "go under." Given this first goal of achieving peace - the European Union will not fail!
Nobel Committee statement (emphasis mine):
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2012 is to be awarded to the European Union (EU). The union and its forerunners have for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.
In the inter-war years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee made several awards to persons who were seeking reconciliation between Germany and France. Since 1945, that reconciliation has become a reality. The dreadful suffering in World War II demonstrated the need for a new Europe. Over a seventy-year period, Germany and France had fought three wars. Today war between Germany and France is unthinkable. This shows how, through well-aimed efforts and by building up mutual confidence, historical enemies can become close partners.
In the 1980s, Greece, Spain and Portugal joined the EU. The introduction of democracy was a condition for their membership. The fall of the Berlin Wall made EU membership possible for several Central and Eastern European countries, thereby opening a new era in European history. The division between East and West has to a large extent been brought to an end; democracy has been strengthened; many ethnically-based national conflicts have been settled.
The admission of Croatia as a member next year, the opening of membership negotiations with Montenegro, and the granting of candidate status to Serbia all strengthen the process of reconciliation in the Balkans. In the past decade, the possibility of EU membership for Turkey has also advanced democracy and human rights in that country.
The EU is currently undergoing grave economic difficulties and considerable social unrest. The Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to focus on what it sees as the EU’s most important result: the successful struggle for peace and reconciliation and for democracy and human rights. The stabilizing part played by the EU has helped to transform most of Europe from a continent of war to a continent of peace.
The work of the EU represents "fraternity between nations", and amounts to a form of the "peace congresses" to which Alfred Nobel refers as criteria for the Peace Prize in his 1895 will.
Oslo, 12 October 2012