The celebration took place after a panel discussion on the occasion of the International Human Rights Day, organised jointly by the Commission’s Representation and UNHCR Budapest, and was supplemented by live readings, the screening of the award winning ceremony in Oslo, and finally a concert by Elsa Valle and Rumba Client Trio.
The European Union’s major contribution to six decades of peace and prosperity
Both speakers praised the invaluable achievements of the European Union in contributing to an unprecedented more than six decades of peace and prosperity on the European continent. „Today the EU and its forerunners have received the prize for having contributed during more than 6 decades to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy, rule of law and human rights in Europe. The 20th century was an especially tragic one in European history, but some statesmen with great foresight and courage decided to let the past rest and to put in place a framework to make sure wars would not happen again… East and West are forever joined together and the EU played a crucial role in the transformation from being a continent of war to a continent of peace and prosperity. Today Europeans take peace, democracy and human rights for granted – something which was unthinkable only 3-4 decades ago.” – emphasised Ambassador Skarstein.
In the words of Ambassador Szűcs: “The European Union clearly proves that conflicts should not be resolved by weapons and force, but at the negotiating table, by compromises aiming to understand and accept each other. The process of integration is not a means in itself: it provides an exemplary inspiration reaching far beyond the borders of the European continent. Today’s Prize is an acknowledgement and appreciation of the past, of the force of joint action, and also an encouragement to the future generations. This prize is not the prize of the EU-institutions or the leaders of the Member States. It is the common success of 500 million Europeans, among them 10 million Hungarians. It is our success, but at the same time our responsibility as well to protect our values and to continue to walk the path of our forefathers.”
The EU in a time of crisis
The decision of the Nobel Committee to award the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union in 2012 is perhaps more timely and important than ever.
“Europe today is again facing challenging times with economic crises, social unrest, austerity and a young generation who are uncertain about their future and they wonder if Europe has something to offer. These challenges would not, however, question the undeniable credentials of the Union as the single most important peace promoter not only in Europe but also through its reach-out activities to third countries. In trying times European solidarity and institutional cooperation is need more than ever. As Jean Monnet, the founding father of the forerunner of EU, rightly said: Nothing can happen without human beings, but nothing can remain without institutions.”
“The world’s most prestigious prize”
The Nobel Peace Prize is an international prize which is awarded annually by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, an independent body appointed by the Norwegian Storting, according to guidelines laid down in Alfred Nobel's will. The Peace Prize, which has been called “the world’s most prestigious prize”, is to go to whomever "shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses". Since 1901, altogether 101 individuals and 24 organisations have been awarded the Peace Prize.
The official announcement of the Norwegian Nobel Committee from 12 October, and the speeches delivered at the Award Ceremony at the Oslo City Hall on 10 October 2012 can be read here: http://nobelpeaceprize.org/