by Godfrey Bloom, member of the European Parliament
The Nobel Prize committee have certainly hauled this one on board. I have watched in wonder as they award some of the most extraordinary recipients often economists, wrong on a truly awesome scale often not even in hindsight, intellectually and academically discredited as they mount the podium. How the early scientific winners must spin in their graves. I thought I had seen it all when they awarded Obama a peace prize, one can only assume the committee now consist of some reincarnation of the Marx Brothers. Dull though it may be it is worth looking at this on a bit more detail.
- The EU claimed at the outbreak of the Bosnian civil war in 1991 that ‘The hour of Europe has come’. Jacques Poos, who held the rotating presidency of the EU at the time boasted the EU would stop the war in Bosnia. Four years later, the EU had still done nothing, 250,000 Bosnians were dead or displaced, and it took the Americans to put it right.
- The EU sold Gaddafi’s Libya around €300 million worth of arms and arms licenses over a 5 year period before his overthrow. The Guardian has a very revealing exposé of this. Not very peaceful now is it? Source:
- Interesting that this was the same Gaddafi’s Libya they said in a joint statement from Van Rompuy and Barroso was one of ‘repression and despotism’. If it was so bad, and the EU was so peaceful, why were they so gleefully selling it arms for years? Source: http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_Data/docs/pressdata/en/ec/125447.pdf
- How EU ‘peace keepers’ in the Congo during Operation Artemis were accused of torture. Heavily armed Europeans torturing Africans isn’t exactly peaceful. Hardly the behaviour that should attract a peace prize. Source: http://www.dw.de/dw/article/0,,3223692,00.html
- The EU is a major arms dealer on the world market, making over $400 billion. The liberal New York Times has called the EU hypocritical. Again, being a multi-billion dollar arms dealer is not really the stuff of a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
- Somali piracy. In the 1990s, EU fishing fleets destroyed the fish stocks off the Horn of Africa. As a result, desperate former fishermen in Somali resorted to piracy. The African Prospects Magazine estimates that EU fleets stole five times the commercial value of fish from Somali waters that Somali receives in foreign aid each year. The destruction of the Somali coastal economy has bred piracy and violence. Economically devastating poor countries and pushing its people into armed criminal gangs is hardly what I’d call the actions of a Nobel Prize winner.
- Now piracy off the Horn of Africa is one of the most serious challenges to global security. It has been estimated that it costs the global economy $8 BILLION a year. Around 80% of these costs are born by commercial shipping firms, who have to pay much higher insurance premiums, pay for armed guards on board and put extra fuel in their boats so they can pass through danger spots quicker. Creating one of the world’s most serious security threats is hardly what I’d call the actions of a Nobel Prize winner.
- The Nobel Peace Prize has an interesting list of former nominees. Soviet dictator Josef Stalin was nominated twice in 1945 and 1948. The nomination was on the grounds he was going to help end world war 2, and thus create peace. This was the same Stalin who oversaw mass murder, gulags and secret police summary executions.
- One former winner is Yasser Arafat who won it in 1993. Arafat is on record as saying “Peace for us means the destruction of Israel. We are preparing for an all-out war, a war which will last for generations”. http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/y/yasser_arafat.html#S0YXEqrEFeL18leQ.99
- Barack Obama was given the prize just two months into office. He beat Morgan Tsvanagarai to the prize, who had bravely faced down Mugabe for years in Zimbabwe. Obama went on to expand the war in Afghanistan and backed NATO attacks on Libya.
- What will the EU do with the prize money? Will it donate some to the EU mechanism for stability? Maybe the EU will give some of the prize money to Spain, which is now so poor thanks to the Euro, that the Red Cross are handing out food parcels, much as they do in Africa, Asia and conflict zones.
Nobel Committee President Thorbjørn ‘Groucho’ Jagland was good enough to acknowledge the EU’s problems but clearly there is no fool like an old fool! EU Commission President Manuel Barroso twittered his delight as he slid the cheque into his pocket, presumably to fund the next boondoggle.
BBC Europe’s correspondent Matthew Price was equally tickled but only queried the timing. But I suppose if your ultimate boss Lord Patten is an ex commissioner whose pension depends on your towing the line he would wouldn’t he? I suppose if young Matthew did not have the EU he would have to get a real job, perish the thought!
By the by, what about NATO? All those nights I spent freezing as a young officer on the inner German border don’t seem to count. Gissa medal, please!