Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

EU feted with Nobel in eurosceptic Norway
by Staff Writers
Oslo (AFP) Dec 09, 2012

While facing more and more critics within its own borders, the European Union on Monday ironically collects one of the world's top honours, the Nobel Peace Prize, in a country stubbornly refusing to join its ranks.

Norway is a tranquil, wealthy nation thanks to its abundant oil and gas reserves, the EU a 27-nation political union wracked by painful austerity drives and violent protests: the two could not seem further apart.

Yet it is in Oslo that the EU will pick up its Nobel prize for its half-century contribution to reconciliation, democracy and human rights.

"No peace prize for our time," said one of the banners waved by the several hundred Norwegians who turned out for a candle-light protest in the snowy streets of Oslo in protest against the decision to hand the award to the EU.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee's decision to honour the bloc, announced in October, has renewed an impassioned debate on the sensitive issue of EU membership, which Norwegians twice rejected in referendums in 1972 and 1994 and which three-quarters of the population still opposes.

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, himself pro-European, hastily pointed out that the Nobel did not signify any change in his country's relationship to the EU, as many were quick to confuse the two issues.

In a telling sign, several cabinet ministers from the Centre Party, a vehemently eurosceptic Stoltenberg ally, will not take part in the Nobel ceremony, officially due to scheduling reasons.

According to Norway's "No to EU" umbrella group, the union is suffering from woes that sit poorly with the Nobel: a defence policy that goes against the notion of demilitarisation, a crisis marked by "riots, extremism", aggressive trade policies for poor countries, and shutting its doors to refugees.

"In the last years, instead of this picture of unity, 'one for all and all for one', it is now splitting up between North and South, rich and poor, inside the eurozone and outside the eurozone, and so on," said the head of the group, Heming Olaussen.

"This prize shouldn't be seen as part of the Norwegian debate on whether we should or not join the EU," Committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said Sunday.

But European Commission president Jose-Manuel Barroso, arriving in Oslo ahead of the awards ceremony Monday, told journalists the fact that the prize came from Norway gave it "even bigger value".

"Norway has given so much for peace that we are really proud and humbled that this distinction came from Norway," he added.

Political scientist Bernt Aardal told AFP that "even among those who support membership, it's generally been the economic argument that has dominated".

Against that background, the EU's current debt crisis has had an impact on even the most ardent of supporters.

Realising that it was fighting a losing battle, the Movement for Europe has stopped pushing for Norwegian membership and now merely calls for closer ties.

Norway and the EU already collaborate very closely, with the Scandinavian country a member of the Schengen agreement, on unfettered travel across borders, and of the European Economic Area.

But it has no vote in Brussels.

Critics have said that the ardently pro-European Jagland took advantage of the prolonged sick leave of an adamantly eurosceptic member of the committee, Aagot Valle, to get his way.

In the two days following the Nobel announcement to the EU, "No to EU" reportedly registered 500 new members, bringing its supporters to 27,000 -- including eight cabinet ministers -- a significant number in a country of five million people.

With support like that, Norway is not expected to apply to join the bloc anytime soon, regardless of whether Stoltenberg's left or the right win the next legislative elections in September 2013.


Related Links
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Azeri, Armenian FMs in Ireland for OSCE
Dublin, Ireland (UPI) Dec 6, 2012
High-level diplomatic efforts to break a deadlock in stalled negotiations over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict could be on tap this week at a Dublin meeting. Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and Armenian counterpart Edward Nalbandian each were to be in the Irish capital Thursday for the two-day ministerial council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, w ... read more

NASA's GRAIL Creates Most Accurate Moon Gravity Map

Chinese astronauts may grow veg on Moon

WSU researchers use 3-D printer to make parts from moon rock

China's Chang'e-3 to land on moon next year

Orbiter Spies Where Rover's Cruise Stage Hit Mars

NASA to send new rover to Mars in 2020

Safe Driving on Mars

Ancient Mars May Have Captured Enormous Floodwaters

Scientists say NASA's budget inadequate for its goals

What trends will take upper hand in space exploration?

To reach final frontier, NASA can't go it alone: analysts

Kickstarter's creative community takes hold in Britain

Mr Xi in Space

China plans manned space launch in 2013: state media

China to launch manned spacecraft

Tiangong 1 Parked And Waiting As Shenzhou 10 Mission Prep Continues

Khrunichev Completes Nauka Space Station Module

New Crew of ISS to Perform Two Spacewalks

Space Station to reposition for science

Spacewalks on agenda for new space crew

SPACEX Awarded Two EELV Class Missions From The USAF

Russia Set to Launch Telecoms Satellite for Gazprom

Sea Launch Delivers the EUTELSAT 70B Spacecraft into Orbit

S. Korea readies new bid to join global space club

Astronomers discover and 'weigh' infant solar system

Search for Life Suggests Solar Systems More Habitable than Ours

Do missing Jupiters mean massive comet belts?

Brown Dwarfs May Grow Rocky Planets

Elbit Systems to Provide Space Camera for the Italian OPTSAT 3000 Observation Satellite

Speeding Space Junk Poses Risks for Spacecraft

Samsung, Apple top 'smart device' Q3 sales: survey

Smartphones might soon develop emotional intelligence

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement