Looking Beyond the Nobel Peace Prize
The European Union has grown from a steel and coal agreement to an economic union to a unique economic and political union of 27 states. It has developed in a firm pace and has helped its members develop further by sustaining a peaceful continent, creating a single market, creating supranational independent institutions and organisations to run it; and has a combined population of over 500 million.
Nobel a Relief, Issues Still there.
The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the EU today, yet the European Union today is facing great challenges. The global financial and economic crisis has affected all Europeans, causing countries and its Peoples to be uncertain about their financial future, their position within the EU. Although, Europe 2020, a proposal for an even stronger European Union has been made, the mistrust of the Peoples of the EU will challenge its implementation. Countries like the UK are now challenging their position within the Union, a poll conducted by BBC shows that more than 60% of the British people want out of the EU yet the Central Government in London understands the benefits of the country’s membership. Therefore the issue of education comes up. Europeans are not Europeans; young people around Europe are not educated to become Europeans as our education system is not in any way harmonized. The public will not be in favour of the European idea unless the bigger reasons for belonging to the EU, and making it work, are also explained. This is causing different nationals to understand and accept the Union differently depending on where they are from.
The crises in Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal have stimulated a North-South divide with different Europeans not wanting to pay other Europeans’ debts. Our single-currency, the Euro, and the Eurozone is in trouble. After two major bailouts and a change in government, Greece is still struggling to reduce its debt mountain. Portugal’s government and banking system are already living on European life support. Ireland has already had a major banking crisis following the collapse of the property market, and its government has already been bailed out.
We are being faced with a Community Crisis (What is the EU? What’s my country’s role in the EU?). With a debt crisis, a collapse in confidence and a banking meltdown. On top of that a Euro break-up is still not out of sight and that could potential cause a global meltdown. If the Eurozone fails to hold itself together, it could spark a global financial crisis and recession similar to 2008-09 and worse.
The rejection of the proposed constitution by France and Holland led many commentators to suggest that the whole process of European unification had possibly reached its high water mark. But these are not the only issues the European Union is facing today. Climate change, economic globalization and interdependence, terrorism and peacekeeping remain priorities.
The European Union facing self-destruction is now more important than ever to all people who are looking to build a world based on diversity, cultural pluralism, free and responsible trade, social justice and the rule of law.
Congratulations to all Europeans out there today.